Friday, July 6, 2012

Strawberry Habanero Jam - Jelly Take Two

After my last review of the Blackberry Habanero Jam, I was worried I'd write a blog about the Strawberry Habanero Jam that would sound like a song from the same soundtrack. I didn't have to worry, this smoky-sweet summery jam with peppery undertones is definitely no twin. If I have to pick a favorite, hands down, I'd pick the Strawberry Habanero. Why? The Strawberry Habanero Jam is both completely familiar and totally unexpected at the same time. I grew up thinking strawberry jelly was a food group, and loved mixing it in my ice cream, vanilla yogurt, on toast, slathered on a bagel or even just in a spoon. Let me tell you folks, this jam kicks every one of those aforementioned foods up to another level. If you like sweet and enjoy a little kick of spicy, you will adore this jam. 

But if you like to live a little - keep reading.

The first time I tasted this jam I knew it had to be turned into a salad dressing. It had the sweet notes I enjoy in a good balsamic or thousand island, and the warm tingle of fruity habanero that makes my tongue do the flamenco. I wasted no time. Because this is a jam, and has pectin to gelatinize it, I knew it would need to be heated up to temporarily break-down its firmness. I took 1/4 of a cup of the Strawberry Habanero Jam and placed it in a large microwave safe glass bowl for 45 seconds on high. It got all bubbly and gooey and I kind of wanted to drink it, but I didn't.

To the melted jam I added 1/2 a cup of extra virgin olive oil. This is important because the extra virgin oil has a complimentary fruitiness and even a slight heat from the acid of the olives to make it a perfect match for this dressing. However, if you want, you could also use grapeseed oil, but it won't have as much flavor. I then added the juice of one freshly squeezed lemon. This provided enough acidity to cut the sweetness and thin out the jam enough to constitute a lusciusly thick dressing.

Not trying to toot my own horn or anything, but this stuff was so good! I used my dressing on a salad of baby arugula and crumbled feta. The bitterness of the arugula and the creamy saltiness of the feta were magical with the sweet, tangy, lightly spicy Strawberry Habanero salad dressing. Look how it clung to those leaves - it's almost inappropriate. 

But don't stop there - keep going. This dressing is fabulous on juicy watermelon cubes tossed with fresh mint and feta. It even works as a glaze for meats like fish, chicken, pork chops and ham! And because it is so versatile, you could even use this dressing as a dessert sauce with fresh fruit and chocolate.

Or, just eat it by the spoonful. Who cares? No one's looking.

You can find this jam and others at: 

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