Growing up, I was never a fan of maple syrup. Unlike Buddy the Elf, I found it sickeningly sweet and way too thick. Imagine a four-year old turning down maple syrup!
As I've gotten older, I've learned that what I had as a kid wasn't real maple syrup at all. It was essentially over-processed corn syrup.
The real stuff - the tree to table, open pan, small batch treasure - is completely different and fabulously complex in flavor.
Last week I picked up a jar of Maple Shine at the Kenosha Pubic Market. It's produced by the Schneider family from Reif Mills, Wisconsin.
The maple flavor is pronounced, but after the sweetness you get just a hint of smokiness. Thanks to the buttery texture, there are countless ways to use it beyond just drizzling (fire hosing?) it over pancakes and waffles. And it pairs especially nicely with sharp flavors, like freshly-cracked black pepper or Balsamic vinegar.
Brush bacon strips with maple syrup and brown sugar and bake at 350º until crisp, about 25 minutes. Top with freshly-cracked black pepper.
Whisk together 1 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup Balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup maple syrup and 1 tablespoon brown mustard. Use as a dressing for summer salads.
Serve maple syrup as an accompaniment to a cheese tray.
Marinate salmon fillets in 1/3 cup maple syrup, 2 tablespoons soy sauce and 2 tablespoons olive oil in the refrigerator for 45 minutes. Grill salmon until done.
Visit the Maple Shine booth at the Kenosha Public Market and don't forget you can purchase curbside through KPM2GO.