My Motto

May the muffin rise to greet you, may your friends be always at your door, and until we meet again, warm a single-malt in the palm of your hand and make something homemade for someone you love.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Fresh Cranberry Salad

October is cranberry season in New England.  The fresh ones are readily available and generally less expensive than the rest of the year.  I always throw a couple bags in the freezer for the holidays.  Throw a few frozen cranberries in a Cape Cod cocktail.  It's an easy festive touch. 
3 parts cranberry juice - 1part vodka - COLD!
I love these glasses.  They were my Mom's - over 50 years old.
I've been making this fresh cranberry salad for at least 15 years.  What I love about it, is that it's as beautiful as it is delicious, and it's sweet-tartness is a great foil to savory dishes.  It goes equally well with beef or foul.  I've served it with Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas meals of prime rib.   It's not difficult, but you do have to plan ahead a little.  Fresh cranberries are bitter, so in order to make them palatable for this salad, you need to chop up the berries, mix them with sugar, and let them sit in mesh strainer overnight, or for at least 4-6 hours.  All the bitterness drains away, leaving crunchy, slightly tart, sweet berries and this gorgeous red syrup I have yet to find a use for (I'm working on it though).  
The original recipe is from The California Heritage Cookbook, a fabulous cookbook that my aunt sent me  years ago.

Fresh Cranberry Salad

12 ounces fresh cranberries
1 3/4 cup sugar
1 pound red grapes, halved and seeds removed
1 pint heavy cream
1 cup chopped toasted nuts 
Bibb lettuce, or nice lettuce leaves (optional)

There are a few different ways to chop the nuts, depending on the equipment you have.  I used a food processor, but before I owned one, I used to pulse them in the blender a couple times.  You don't want them pulverized, just chopped.  You can even use a meat grinder set at medium, if you like.  
 Place chopped cranberries in a medium mixing bowl.  Stir in sugar. Place the cranberry mixture in a strainer or  colander. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for at least 4-6 hours.  
Allow mixture to drain overnight, discarding the juice.  Halve the grapes, removing seeds if they have them.
Mix cranberries and grapes in a large bowl and refrigerate 1-4 hours.  Just before serving, whip the cream until very stiff.
Set aside a few cranberries and nuts as garnish.  Fold the whipped cream and nuts into the cranberry-grape mixture.  Serve on lettuce on individual plates, or from one large bowl.  Sprinkle with reserved cranberries and nuts.

1 comment:

Satrupa said...

That is the cutest cranberry salad I have ever seen. Very detailed presentation.

Cheers n Happy Cooking,