An utterly addictive and delicious appetizer!
This dish started out innocently enough. I looked around for something new to pickle, and spied a big basket of fresh blueberries on the kitchen counter. In case you don’t know it, I’ve become known as the person who will pickle anything that’s not nailed down. Apple slices? Yup. Grilled corn kernels? Check. I’ve also pickled tomatillos, rhubarb, cauliflower, kohlrabi and plums, plus a whole lot more. Can’t get enough of pickles! But I digress. As I was saying, it started with the blueberries. They made fabulous pickles and I soon found myself adding them to salads, my morning granola and all kinds of other things. I then realized they would be a great tangy topper for rich, marinated goat cheese (a dish I’ve loved for years thanks to Canadian Living magazine) and that’s how this dish was born. If you are a regular guest at my table, I apologize in advance for how often I am going to serve this.
For the pickled blueberries:
- 2 cups (250 mL) firm, fresh blueberries, rinsed
- 3/4 cup (180 mL) cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) water
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) white sugar
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) kosher salt
- 1 small shallot, diced
- 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 mL) cracked black peppercorns
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) hulled cardamom seeds
For the marinated goat cheese:
- 4 ounce (113 grams) log of plain goat cheese
- 1 clove garlic
- 4 tablespoons (60 mL) olive oil
- few grinds salt and pepper
- 2 teaspoons (10 mL) fresh thyme leaves
- To make the pickled blueberries, start by putting half the blueberries in a clean 500 mL canning jar.
- In a small saucepan, combine vinegar, water, sugar, salt, shallot, pepper and cardamom.
- Heat gently, stirring often, until sugar and salt have dissolved and mixture is steaming.
- Pour half mixture over the half-filled jar of berries, being sure to scoop some of the seasonings over the berries.
- Add remaining berries to jar and top with remaining brine and seasonings. Cover with canning lid.
- Let stand at room temperature for 6 hours then transfer to the refrigerator.
- Berries will be ready to eat in 24 hours and can be stored in the fridge for up to one month.
- To make the marinated goat cheese, slice the cheese crosswise into 1/4 inch (6mm) slices. Lay these in the bottom of a shallow dish with short sides just big enough to hold the cheese in one layer. I used a 6 inch (15 cm) square plate.
- Put the minced garlic in a small bowl and add the olive oil. Microwave for 1 minute to partially cook the garlic. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
- Add the salt, pepper and thyme leaves to the oil and garlic mixture and stir to combine.
- Drizzle the flavoured oil over the cheese.
- Let stand at room temperature at least 30 minutes or up to two hours so the flavours will blend.
- When ready to serve, top with 1/2 cup (125 mL) of pickled blueberries and serve with baguette or crackers.
Serves 4 as an appetizer.