A quick plea for the underused gooseberry before the season is gone for another year. At least, I think the poor old gooseberry is underused. They're lovely in puddings and ices and they make very fine jam but I look forward to gooseberry season so that I can use them in savoury dishes.
I've wittered on about gooseberry sauces before but this year I've tried combining them with fennel and a fine combination it turned out to be. This sauce is very easy to make and freezes well. It works beautifully with simply cooked white fish, such as bream, but will also sit very happily alongside chicken or richer meats like duck or pork. I use the classic, sharper gooseberries for this kind of sauce rather than the sweeter, modern dessert types.
This sauce is not short of flavour and so should make plenty for four people.
1 small to medium bulb of fennel, chopped quite finely
400 g gooseberries
50 g dried apricots, soaked if they need it
½ tsp dark soy sauce
A generous pinch or two of pepper
A dash of water
1 - 2 (and possibly a few more) tsp sugar, if the sauce needs it
Put all the ingredients except the sugar into a non-reactive pan and place on a gentle heat. Cover and let it simmer until the fennel has softened, the gooseberries have collapsed and the apricots have swollen up and softened. Let the mixture cool a little then liquidise the whole lot. Add a little more water if the sauce seems too thick. Taste and add as much sugar as you think you need. Reheat to serve.