[Recipe: Blueberry Soup]
Once upon a summer, while vacationing in Maine, we hit the obligatory local-favorite lobster joint for dinner. To be honest, our meal didn’t feel at all obligatory, but rather like eating lobster in Maine, which is an indulgence on such a level that the “indulgence” of eating lobster in Arizona can’t rate, and so we never do it.
But it’s the after-dinner part of the story I want to tell you about, when just as we’d pulled out onto the road to get on our way to the next town for the night, we saw camped there on the side an ice cream stand. True, we weren’t particularly hungry, bricked as we were with lobster. Still the sign declaring the opportunity for Maine blueberry ice cream had us flipping a U-turn.
But when we asked at the window for just that – ice cream made with famed Maine blueberries – we were told they were out. That was that. Unnecessary craving unfulfilled. It’s an understatement to say we were disappointed. Sure, there were other flavors, a long list of them, but blueberry was the siren call, the what-might-have-been perfect ending to a regional dinner.
It was dark. It was late. The little town we were passing through was shutting down, making slim the chances of procuring blueberry ice cream at another roadside vendor. I don’t remember if I picked another flavor or just shrugged off the enterprise entirely.
I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately – about Maine, about the fact that I was denied blueberry ice cream in Maine – and that’s what urged me to make this blueberry soup.
I’m not often one for cooked blueberries – those simmered into softened, syrupy, sweetened submission and baked in a tart, for example. I like my blueberries fleshy and cold, stirred into plain yogurt with a faint trace of honey.
I know – sounds a little sketchy, a soup concocted of berries. Even as gazpacho is enjoying popularity and people are getting somewhat used to the concept of cold soup, I wonder if you’ll shake your head at this one. So think of it as a twist on the old smoothie if you have to: a smoothie with a certain savory quality, that isn’t supposed to be sweet and that should be served in a bowl. Add some almond scones for gentle dipping and call it a light Sunday brunch. That’s what we did.
2 pints ripe blueberries
1 cup plain, nonfat yogurt
1 tablespoon honey
4 fresh mint or basil leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
Put the berries, yogurt, honey and herbs into a blender. Add a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Blend the mixture into a thick puree that’s still barely chunky, not smooth. Serve immediately, or store overnight in refrigerator.