- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 21, 2006

It sounds so simple: A chutney is a sweet-and-sour condiment made of fruits and vegetables cooked in vinegar, sugar and spices until the combination has the consistency of jam.

Chef Kenneth Trickilo of the Napa Valley Grille in Paramus, N.J., believes it is just that simple, but he still thinks chutney is misunderstood.

“People don’t realize how easy it is to make and that they can easily find the ingredients in their local supermarket, or even in their refrigerators and spice racks,” Mr. Trickilo says. He finds people are sometimes not sure how to serve chutney.

His answer: That, too, is easier than you might think.”It goes with almost everything. It’s great with a cheese platter, on fish, beef, game and roasted chicken. This year, I have had chutney with venison and roasted duck on the menu at the Napa Valley Grille.”

He is eager to persuade home cooks to join him in enjoying the condiment, so he has adapted the following three recipes for them to try.

The chutneys these recipes make will keep for two weeks in the refrigerator, he says, so there’s no need to worry about using all the recipe up at one time.

Cranberry and apricot chutney

Mr. Trickilo likes the cranberry and apricot chutney on an oily fish and often serves it with salmon.

2 cups (½ pound) fresh cranberries

4 ounces (about ½ cup) dried apricots cut into thin strips

½ cup chopped shallots (2 medium)

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup cranberry juice

1 tablespoon grated orange zest

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

21/4 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon grated lime zest

1 teaspoon minced, peeled fresh ginger root

1/4 teaspoon ground coriander seed

1/4 teaspoon chopped garlic

1 bay leaf

Combine all ingredients in a nonreactive saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low.

Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until reduced and jamlike consistency, about 30 minutes. Remove bay leaf after cooking.

Makes about 1 quart.

McIntosh apple and date chutney

This apple chutney has a little kick because of the cayenne pepper, and it makes a perfect complement for a cheese platter.

5 McIntosh apples (peeled, seeded, and cut into small dice)

1 cup finely diced dried dates

½ cup finely chopped shallots (2 medium)

½ cup apple cider vinegar

½ cup sugar

2 tablespoons minced, peeled fresh ginger root

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

½ teaspoon ground allspice

Pinch cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a nonreactive saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low.

Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until reduced and jamlike in consistency, about 30 minutes.

Makes about 1 quart.

Tomato chutney

This tomato chutney makes a great appetizer served with roasted garlic and blue cheese — Mr. Trickilo serves it at his restaurant.

8 ounces ripe plum tomatoes (6 to 8), cut into ½-inch dice

1/4 cup finely diced Spanish onion

1/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons cider vinegar

1/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar

1/4 cup golden raisins

1 teaspoon grated orange zest

1/4 cup chopped orange flesh

2 teaspoons minced jalapeno pepper

Combine all ingredients in a nonreactive saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low. S

immer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until reduced and jam-like consistency, about 30 minutes.

Makes about 1 quart.

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