As the long holiday weekend comes to a crashing halt, let’s take a small joy in that it’s cherry season.
Yes, best friends, the sweet, tangy little antioxidant powerhouses are in season, affordable and everywhere.
Last week, I greedily snapped up a 2 lb box of Rainier Cherries (the sweet, light pink/yellow variety) and have happily been devouring them since.
After browsing and buying through Findlay Market on Friday, I came home with all manner of fresh, local produce: mini heirloom tomatoes, jalapeno and squash.
Salsa, I decided would be the perfect marriage of the gorgeous cherries and my market finds. I loved the idea of the sweet rainier cherries with the kick of the jalapeno, all tied together with tons of cilantro and lime. Drool.
While this salsa is incredible with chips or sprinkled on shrimp, I made Vegetarian Napoleons with thin slices of tangy feta and grilled summer squash.
Fresh Cherry Salsa
2 c. Rainer Cherries (pitted and then chopped)
1 c. (about 10) mini heirloom tomatoes, diced
1 small bunch of cilantro, de-stemmed and roughly chopped
2 green onions, green and white parts, diced
3 small garlic cloves (1 or 2 if large), minced
zest of one lime
1 large jalapeno pepper, diced*
Salt/Pepper to taste
I am a heat-wimp, so I’m careful to remove all seeds and most of the membrane in the jalapeno; this brings the heat level to mild. Leave membrane/seeds as you wish to increase heat. As the salsa ripens, it will get hotter.
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients thoroughly. Taste and season with salt/pepper as needed. Add more lime/cilantro as you prefer. Like most salsa, this recipe is very flexible. Allow to set-up for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Makes about 2 cups.
1 recipe Fresh Cherry Salsa (see above)
2 large yellow summer squash, ends trimmed
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Sea Salt, Black pepper
1 block (8oz) feta cheese
zest of one lime
Pre-heat oven to 350 or Pre-heat grill to 500. Slice squash into thick 1″ rounds. Brush both sides with Olive Oil and sprinkle with salt/pepper. Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes, flipping once or grill for 10-12 minutes, flipping once. In either case, squash should be firm, but fork-tender. Remove from heat and allow squash to cool completely. Slice feta cheese vertically to make (8) 1 oz sheets. Slice squares diagonally to make triangles.
Use a large squash round for the bottom, add one feta triangle and 1-2 tbs of salsa. Top with a medium squash round and repeat feta and salsa. Top with a small round and either a small piece of feta or a bit more of the salsa. If your squash is uniformly cylindrical, simply make a same-size stack with three rounds. Repeat process with rest of squash, feta and salsa. Garnish with lime zest. Makes 6-8 Napoleons, depending on squash size.
(Leftover squash rounds are fantastic on top of salads or thrown into omelets).
Oh happy cherry day.