Experiments with cherries

My new year’s resolutions for 2013 are fairly practical, and provide some structure for continuing to be creative (in photography and cooking) and active. In 2013, when it is possible, Tuesday night will be my kitchen experiment night. So about a week ago, I kicked off my first Tuesday experiment night by finding savoury ways to use up some of the the large, plump summer cherries that have been filling my fridge over the past few weeks.

Almost a year ago now, A and I shared a memorably lovely entree at a tavola, one of my most favourite Sydney restaurants (and a place that my lovely friend K, while visiting Sydney, described as the perfect date restaurant, with its dark lighting and sensual food). It was a lump of silky, creamy cheese, enriched with cherries and basil.

The first dish is inspired by that entree.

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Cherry, rocket and basil salad (serves 2-4)

A handful of cherries, pitted
200g milky cheese (I used fior di latte; I think fetta could also work well)
50g rocket
Half a red capsicum, thinly sliced
A large bunch of basil, shredded

Dressing
Two tablespoons olive oil
Two tablespoons verjuice
Squeeze of lemon
Salt and pepper, to taste

This salad is more of an arrangement than a recipe. Pile rocket onto a plate, followed by capsicum, slices of cheese, shredded basil and then cherries. Combine ingredients for the dressing and drizzle over gently.

I served the cherry salad with the dish below, inspired by a few sources.

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Grilled chicken with cherry balsamic sauce (serves 3)

2 skinless chicken breasts, sliced
Salt and pepper, to taste
Olive oil

Sauce
Approx. 15 cherries, pitted
Half a leek, sliced
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup white wine

For the sauce, sauté leeks in a little olive oil until softening, then add cherries, squashing them into the leek mixture. Add balsamic vinegar and white wine and allow to simmer gently for 5-10 minutes or until the mixture reduces and thickens.

Meanwhile, season chicken lightly with olive oil, salt and pepper then fry. Once chicken has been turned, coat cooked side in cherry glaze with a pastry brush or similar. Repeat this on second side of the chicken, once cooked. When chicken is nearly done, add remainder of sauce (including chunks of cherries and leek) to the pan, and serve with the sauce.

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4 Responses to Experiments with cherries

  1. determined34 says:

    Looks yum, I still have cherries left from a recent trip to Sydney Markets, you have given me inspiration, thanks D34

    • emmatrus says:

      Pleasure! The great thing about the sauce for chicken (or other meat for that matter) is that you can still use cherries that are getting a bit soft for eating raw.

  2. Marie says:

    YUMMO,
    That looks divine! Cherries are so good around xmas time in australia, too.
    Will try as soon as i see half decent ones in the shops here (in Montréal, Canada). :-))
    See ya!
    (Ps: My husband is from Canberra 🙂

    • emmatrus says:

      Glad you liked it, and hope you’re surviving the Montreal cold! (though in case your husband misses home, we’ve been having almost 40 degree days here, so a bit of cold is quite appealing!)

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