Monday, August 27, 2012

Random Cookbook of the Week - Blueberries with Lime Sugar from Les Halles Cookbook

I swear I didn't mean to pick the easiest recipe I could find when Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook came up in my random cookbook draw for the week. Friday evening I was contemplating coq au vin along with a potato, cheese, and bacon concoction that sounded like the fanciest, Frenchiest interpretation of scalloped potatoes imaginable.

Then I stubbed my toe. Hard. At first I thought for sure it was broken, though it's improved over the weekend that I think it's only bruised. But suffice it to say I realized it'd be stupid of me to spend hours on my feet in the kitchen. Les Halles will come around again in my random draw. Hopefully then I won't have a purple toe, and I can master the art of coq au vin.

Meanwhile, I made....

Blueberries with Lime Sugar

3 T. sugar
juice of 2 limes
1 1/2 pints blueberries
1 spring of mint, leaves cut into a chiffonade (I left this out, since I couldn't get fresh mint from the home grocery delivery service I used this weekend to help keep me off my feet)
confit zest of 2 limes
1/2 c creme fraiche (or sour cream)

Since I didn't happen to have any confit lime zest lying around, I began by making...

Citrus Zest Confit

1 grapefruit or 2 limes or 2 lemons or 2 oranges
1 c. water
4 oz. sugar

With a paring knife, remove the peel from the fruit. Cut away the white pith from the peel and cut the remaining zest into thin strips.

Combine the water and sugar in a small pot and bring to a boil. Add the strips of zest and reduce to a simmer. Loosely cover the pot and let the liquid cook until reduced by half. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely. Strain the zest and store in an airtight container.

This stuff is DELICIOUS. If it weren't such a picky, time-consuming task to pare away the zest and remove the pith, I swear I'd confit the peel of every citrus fruit that passed through my kitchen and eat it like candy.

Anyway, with my zest ready, I went back to the main recipe:

In a large bowl, combine the sugar and lime juice and stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the blueberries and toss well, coating all the berries. Add the mint and lime zest confit and toss well again. Serve with the creme fraiche on the side.

Mr. Fraser and I both enjoyed the results. Blueberries are at their local peak around now, and this was a bracingly bright and summery dish. It turned out tarter than I was expecting. Possibly the limes were a little on the large side--next time I'll either increase the sugar or be less zealous in squeezing every last scrap of juice from the limes.

The next day, on a whim, I used some of the leftovers as a topping for strawberry sorbet. Wow. The sweetness of the sorbet and the tartness of the lime syrup balanced each other perfectly, and I found myself babbling like the giggly young actress judges on the Japanese version of Iron Chef. It made my mouth happy!


  1. The berries sound delicious, just what is called for on these hot summer days!
    I hope your toe gets better soon, I broke my big toe tripping over a blanket when I stood up from my computer once, and it was excruciating.

  2. Ouch, Kestrel! I think a big toe break would be far worse than the little toe, since it'd be hard to even stand, much less walk, without putting pressure on it.