While experimenting with different liquids to plump up dried dates, Dufresne had an epiphany about root beer. “They both have dark, opulent caramel flavors that play off each other,” he says. The sweetness of the compote makes it a natural match for rich meats and oily fish.
Slideshow: Cranberry Recipes
Recipe from Food & Wine Best New Chefs All-Star Cookbook
9 ounces pitted dates
One 12-ounce bottle root beer
How to Make It
In a medium saucepan, combine the dates and half of the root beer. Bring to a simmer and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the dates are very soft, about 40 minutes. Add water by the tablespoon if the dates get too dry before they’re soft.
Transfer the date mixture to a blender, add the remaining root beer and puree until smooth. Season with salt.
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