Let’s continue with cranberries. I can’t resist. I love this time of year when bags of fresh cranberries are prominently displayed at my favorite market. I’m not even making Thanksgiving dinner this year but that won’t stop me. This most simple version of fresh cranberry relish is wonderful with cream cheese on a toasted bagel for breakfast and perhaps even better in a grilled cheese sandwich with sharp cheddar and arugula (slightly more complete recipe listed below). Crisp, subtly tart, and light. If all you’ve ever had is cranberry in a can this will blow your mind. Leftovers? Try a tablespoon of this on a turkey sandwich.
I went to high school on the Oregon Coast and remember driving past the cranberry bogs at harvest time, shallow lakes topped in red berries. Fields that we drove past a hundred times over the summer and never noticed- now boldly crimson. Thick dark pines ringing the flooded fields, mist from the ocean providing Gaussian blur, the smell of salt and sea.
How do you use your relish?
- 2 cups fresh cranberries
- 1 whole unpeeled orange I used an organic Satsuma cut into 8 pieces.
- 1 T sugar
- 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves optional
- Pinch salt
- 2 to 3 tablespoons orange flavored liqueur
Combine cranberries, orange, and thyme in a food processor and pulse about ten-fifteen times until chopped but not mushy.
Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the sugar, salt and liqueur.
Best if allowed to sit, refrigerated, over night so the flavors meld.
With thanks to Jane Brody and my aunt Margaret for providing the original recipe.
Prefer your cranberries sauced? Check out last year’s baked cranberry sauce two ways.
Cranberry Relish Grilled Cheese Sandwich with sharp white cheddar and arugula
makes one sandwich
- Two slices of hearty bread (I used my homemade sourdough rye bread)
- Enough white cheddar, thinly sliced, to cover both sides of the bread
- 1-2 TBS cranberry relish
- butter to spread on the bread
- Butter bread
- Layer cheese, then cranberry sauce, then cheese
- Cook low and slow in an uncovered cast iron pan until cheese is melted and bread is crispy
- Allow to cool for a minute or so, add arugula and consume with good cheer.
You can add the relish while cooking or at the end. The arugula should be added just before serving.
“If I got up earlier maybe I would work more, but I might just spend more time procrastinating—as now.” Margaret Atwood