We’re smack dab in the midst of summer berry season which means that varieties of the straw, blue, black, and rasp persuasion are at their peak. Though they’re perfectly suitable to snack on au natural there are countless recipes that will elevate these juicy morsels to new heights. Of course there are plenty of opportunities to move in the dessert direction, from clafoutis and cobblers to pies and tarts (to say nothing of skillet bakes and icebox cakes).
But just as Bill Hader transfers his comedy chops into the mind of a cold-blooded hitman and Robert Plant can evolve from forefather of metal to Grammy winner for Contemporary Folk album, the berry can lend its sweetness to the savory side of the food spectrum as exemplified by the recipes found below.
First things first, resist the temptation of going the jarred, store-bought salsa route. Made fresh, Mexico’s most beloved condiment is just in a whole other league. If you’re ready to make the DIY commitment, keeping things classic—tomato, onion, lime, jalapeno—is the obvious choice and a great one at that. But if you want to get a little loco, consider throwing blackberries and citrus into the mix for a killer combination of sweetness and spice. Get the Blackberry Citrus Salsa recipe.
Related Reading: Upgrade Taco Tuesday with These Fresh Fruit Salsa Recipes
If you have plans for a summer dinner party, strawberry bruschetta is a menu must. What’s not to love about crunchy baguette slivers smeared with honey-kissed goat cheese and roasted honey-drizzled strawberries bursting with flavor? A touch of balsamic rounds out this sweet and salty two-biter that is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. Get the Strawberry Bruschetta recipe.
Chef’n StemGem Strawberry Huller, $4.96 from Sur La Table
As single-use kitchen gadgets go, this one is pretty cute (and useful).
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Though it’s been said that you don’t win friends with salad, here’s proof to the contrary. The components seem incongruous—strawberry, fennel, pecorino, pine nuts—but the wonderful array of flavors and textures manage to come together harmoniously. Get our Shaved Fennel and Strawberry Salad recipe.
The only thing better than flaky puff pastry wrapped around a disc of gooey brie is flaky puff pastry wrapped a disc of gooey brie topped with juicy, roasted blackberries. Forget the fruit and cheese plate. This is the ultimate meal starter—or closer. Get the Blackberry Thyme Baked Brie En Croute recipe.
Related Reading: How to Pair Cheese with Summer Fruit
If you’re lucky enough to have access to fresh currants, a lesser-known type of berry in the States, this salad of royal lineage will put them to good use. Creamy chicken spiced with curry is joined by an array of fruits—mango (in chutney form) and golden raisins providing sweetness, with the currants (don’t mind the seeds, they’re edible) and Granny Smith apples adding tartness—for this East meets West starter based on a recipe served at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Get our Curry Chicken Salad recipe.
If you thought gazpacho was the perfect summer soup just wait until you try it with the addition of strawberries. The extra hint of sweet and tang provides added complexity to this Spanish classic. The chilled, vegan-friendly blend of tomatoes, strawberries, peppers, and spices provides a vibrant and refreshing way to beat the heat. Get the Strawberry Gazpacho recipe.
While summer is prime time for berries it’s also the season for BBQ and this tangy, fruity sauce combines the best of both worlds. Break out the slow cooker and remember to plan ahead because it requires hours for the blueberries to properly fuse with its companions—the wait is definitely worth it. Whether you’re grilling up pork tenderloin, chicken thighs, or ribs, a slathering of Blueberry BBQ Sauce will be a game changer. Get the Blueberry BBQ Sauce recipe.
Related Reading: Fruit-Based Hot Sauce Recipes to Spice Up Summer
In need of a simple-to-prepare family meal idea? Look no further because this hulking slab of pork loin covered in a sweet and sour raspberry balsamic glaze is bound to become a staple in your Sunday supper rotation. Be sure to get things going early and if it’s summer, crack open the windows because this bad boy needs a good 18 hours in the oven to achieve ideal tenderness. Get the Roast Pork Loin with a Raspberry Balsamic Glaze recipe.
Raspberries and chipotle are a match made in heaven as evidenced by this easy five-ingredient chicken dish. The smoky chiles shine when blended with the sweet and tart, fuzzy fruit. Let the chicken soak in the resulting marinade for at least an hour to achieve full flavor potential. Cook in a skillet with olive oil and butter, serve with a side of black beans, and enjoy! Get the Raspberry Chipotle Chicken recipe.