My aim was to make a good, savory blackberry sauce. One that would creatively accompany a main course like grilled fish or meat. I tell you, it’s been a windy road to get there.
I think it comes down to the color.
Blackberries are, well, black. Very, very dark. For dessert, this is not a problem — a dark purple sorbet or pie filling that’s inky blackish purple come off as fun, like a whimsical finish to the meal. But when you’re aiming for a savory sauce, such dramatic dark purple poses a challenge.
First I tried a blackberry beurre blanc for a salmon filet I’d bought. I’ve adored beurre blanc since I went to cooking school, where I was first introduced to its buttery goodness. A perfect accompaniment to poached fish, if I remember the lesson correctly.
Beurre blanc is a rich, delicate sauce that requires a good amount of attention to keep the heat just warm enough, and the butter cold enough, so that the emulsion doesn’t break into an oily mess. I thought that adding blackberries would add a seasonal punch of summer, an interesting twist to a traditional sauce.
The flavor came through wonderfully. Packed with intense berry flavor, and enough tartness from the vinegar to balance with all the rich butter. When I closed my eyes and tasted, all was good.
But when I looked down at the plate to see the shocking dark purple sauce next to my pale spring salmon — white spring, no less — I was a little horrified.