They're back...... cherries one of my favourite fruits. Even after all these years living in the northern hemisphere,but being raised in the southern, the arrival of stone fruit season still makes me feel a little excited and Christmassy.
Unfortunately they are also one of the fruits most subjected to pesticides, particularly in the U.S. The phasing out of the most toxic sprays are being addressed but as with all food, buy organic when you can and check out your neighbourhood for cherry trees. In one of the fanciest suburbs in London, I've found a couple of gorgeous fruit - baring ones squished inbetween the ornamentals, a little urban foraging is very satisfying and they would only rot on the pavement if I didn't pick them up!
Hundreds of recipes spring to mind when I finally get them in my kitchen, sauce for roast duck, cherry clafloutis, cherry muffins but I have a craving for a sweet treat that I can't get super fresh here, an antipodean chocolate bar called a Cherry Ripe. It has a cherry and coconut centre covered in dark "Old Gold Chocolate" The chocolate is not the best quality but delicious combined with the rest. I've tried many times but I haven't managed to properly replicate the bar, however, coconut ice-cream, cherry compot, heavy handed with vanilla bean and a warm 70% cocoa solids chocolate sauce does the trick for me.
Another lovely way to use cherries is in this smoked mackerel salad.
Morello Cherry and Smoked Mackerel Salad
2 large smoked mackerel fillets
2 large handfuls of morello cherries, pitted and sliced in half
2 large handfuls of baby spinach leaves
1 medium red onion, finely sliced
1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
3 tablespoons light olive oil
1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
a little sugar, salt and pepper
Combine the dressing ingredients and season to taste, if too oily add a bit more vinegar, the fish is quite oily but don't overdo the salt.
Warm the smoked mackerel for a few minutes on a medium heat, in a pan, skin side down. Put the spinach, parsley and red onion in a large bowl and dress with half the vinaigrette. Remove the skin from the mackerel and using 2 forks, flake the fish. Plate the spinach, mound the mackerel, bomb the cherries and scatter over the brioche croutons. Add the rest of the dressing and grind over some extra fresh pepper.
Have a brilliant week, pop a cherry or two.....
Love Food X