Raspberry Honey-Jalapeño Vinaigrette

Do I like raspberries? Well, let’s put it this way; raspberries and I have had a long standing love relationship. In fact, my fondness for them got me in a bit of trouble once …………It happened many years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday and, if I close my eyes and concentrate, it doesn’t take long to be transported back to that warm, sunny, summer day. There I am laying in a raspberry patch …………….
…………… laying?

Yup, I was spending the week at my aunt and uncles farm, a delightful treat for a city girl. Honestly, it was a little slice of paradise each summer when I got to spend seven days of sheer bliss; playing hide and seek in fields of tall, straight as an arrow, soldier-like corn stalks, collecting eggs with my cousin Janie in the hen house (with more than a few clandestine egg fights) and galloping (with terror and delight) through meadows of wildflowers surrounded by ancient stone walls on Janie’s giant chestnut horse, Tony. 
I fed the pigs, jumped from towers of hay bails into soft mounds of freshly mown hay and held my breath (for what seemed like an eternity) as I entered the (stinky) cow barn to procure a bucket or two of fresh milk from Uncle Alvin (who would occasionally squirt me with the white stuff as he milked the cows). The thick sweet cream would already be rising to the top and I would proudly carry my pails up the hill to my aunt Bernice, who, by the way, was (and still is) the kindest woman who ever walked the face of the earth. 
But back to the raspberries. It was a quintessentially perfect summer day, with clear blue skies and puffs of billowy white clouds. Janie and I were busy playing when we noticed the beautiful red berries glistening in the summer sun. We couldn’t help ourselves from sampling one or two. They were juicy-sweet, and, to us, as good as any candy shop.

Knowing we probably shouldn’t be eating Bernice’s prized berries, and definitely shouldn’t take the chance of being caught snitching, we came up with, what seemed to us, a brilliant idea. We’d just lay, unseen, underneath the bushes and eat the warm, sweet berries to our heart’s content. And that’s what we did, for what seemed like hours that day, watching the fluffy clouds float by, reaching up and snatching one delicious berry after another, after another, after another …………

The problem came that night at dinner when sweet Aunt Bernice was quite troubled. She began talking about “the birds” and what “…. rascals they were this year”. They had eaten up all of her berries…………. She explained how she’d gone out, late that afternoon, to harvest berries and “there was nary a one to be found ………….”

I have to confess, the two little “birdies” at the dinner table didn’t breath a word that evening. but our consciences did bother us and we stayed out of the raspberry patch (for the most part) after that. I shared the story with my dear aunt many years later and it brought a good laugh and wonderful reminiscing of delightful days gone by. 
To this day, the sight, smell and delicious taste of raspberries remains a joy to me. When I spotted them at the market this week on super sale, they flew into my cart and I began immediately plotting fun ways to use them. We love raspberries on our morning yogurt or combined with other yummy summer fruit, drizzled with a bit of honey and a splash of lime juice. A favorite Café dessert of all time is my Raspberry Heaven. I also love to mash them up with a bit of sugar and serve them spooned over Schaum Tortes (a German dessert that my aunt Bernice specialized in).


This time, instead of a sweet treat, I decided to come up with a fun, savory salad dressing. Combined in the blender with rice vinegar, honey, a splash of fresh lemon juice and oil, the raspberries are transformed into a fabulous condiment. I added a bit of finely chopped jalapeño for a lovely contrast and a bit of heat. We loved this on a delightful, Arugula Salad w/ Nectarines, Raspberries and Goat Cheese (Wednesday’s post), but it would also be wonderful as a sauce, drizzled on grilled chicken, shrimp or pork. 

Try it, I think you’ll love this sweet, slightly spicy dressing. Just don’t get any ideas of raiding someone’s raspberry patch …………. or I’ll never tell you another story …………..

P.S. Be sure to check back on Wednesday for a fabulous salad featuring this vinaigrette.

Raspberry Honey-Jalapeño Vinaigrette


6 ounces fresh raspberries
3 tablespoons honey
¼ cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon dijon mustard
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ medium jalapeño

1. Combine raspberries, honey, rice vinegar, lemon juice and dijon mustard in a blender container. Process till pureed.

2. Transfer raspberry mixture to a medium size bowl. Slowly drizzle in olive oil while stirring vigorously with a small fork or whisk.

3. Finely chop jalapeño and add to dressing along with salt and pepper. Stir to combine.


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