Three Cheers for Cherries: savory stuff

By Brenna O’Dea

We’ve covered the sweet stuff when it comes to chowing down on cherries, but before you dive into dessert, let’s serve up something scrumptious for dinner. Cherries are one of the sweetest fruits around, so you might not think to add them to your next savory dish. But when combined with some good ol’ olive oil, farmer’s market fresh herbs, and maybe a pat of butter for good measure, cherries can be the perfect addition on your plate, and quite pleasing to the palate. We’ve got some SUPER quick and easy recipes for you to try at your next dinner party, dinner date, or just a boring weeknight when you need something good to eat at the end of a long, hot day.

Before we get cookin’ here are some tips and tricks to help you choose the best bunch of cherries, and keep them fresh and flavorful for as long as possible. The main takeaway here is to focus on color, and keeping them cool. If you are getting your fruity fix at the farmer’s market, this task will be pretty easy. You’ll have the best resource available right there at your fingertips, the farmer! Chances are, if ya grow the cherries, ya know how to pick ’em and store ’em.

For entertaining the masses, big mouths and small, this Cherry Crostini will do just the tasty trick. There are basically three small steps between you and a delicious dining experience. Slice up some bread. Sauté some cherries. Spread on some ooey gooey cheese. This recipe calls for goat cheese, and if that’s your jam, go for it. If you have a handful of little ones enjoying this appetizer too, you might want to opt for something a little less, well, goat-y. They might even like to just munch on that fresh baguette all by itself, but encourage them to taste a bite of the bright red stuff smothered on top. It will kinda sorta look like an open face PB&J, just all dolled and doctored up, so they might surprise you with their adventurous eating.

For another quick fix, one that would work well as an appetizer or side dish, or even an entrée for the smaller stomachs to feed at the table, try this Cherry Compote on for savory size. No, you don’t get to eat a bowlful by itself with a giant wooden spoon. I mean, you can…but this stuff is best served over your favorite grain, like couscous or quinoa. Toss in some nuts and herbs of your liking and get to cooking. This is a great one for the kids to help with. They can totally tear up some herbs with ease and be in charge of stirring that pot until those cherries start to get all mushy, gushy, and ready to EAT.

Now for your main meal starring the one and only summer cherry, this Chicken with Cherry-Wine Pan Sauce will have you drooling before dinner begins…which is pretty soon…because this recipe can be whipped up in just 20 minutes. Roast some veggies or toss together a quick summer salad and dinner is DONE. This meal might make its way on to your go-to dinner dishes because it is just that simple and just that GOOD. It is also easy to customize for the picky eaters in your family. Serve the chicken up plain without the sauce, or pour on some extra for your cherry loving loved ones.

You are finally fully prepped and prepared for cherry season. Pop them like candy, bake them into a cake, cook them up for some sweet ‘n savory chicken. Any way you eat ’em, do it fast while supplies last. Soon enough peach season will be upon us and our fridges will be stocked with a new fresh fruit…but I guess we can’t complain about that.

(Image by flickr member Debra Morris licensed under Creative Commons)

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