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Sweet, It’s Cherry Season!

Posted on: June 4th, 2013

Cherries are a very special fruit indeed!  The first tree fruit of summer, domestic cherries start in May and aren’t bad, they get better in June, and usually by the first of July we’re treated to the best cherries of the season from Colorado’s western slope.  The local season is short, so lets gorge ourselves while they are at their peak!

Tony’s Cherry Pie, perfectly sweetened tart fruit and an incredible flaky crust!

A Healthy Superfood
You hear a lot of hubbub about the ‘superfood’ qualities of exotic (and expensive) acai and goji berries, but research shows that tart cherries have among the highest levels of disease-fighting antioxidants among fruits.  Cherries are also high in vitamin C, potassium, minerals, fiber and sorbitol (for good digestion and constipation relief) as well as plant sterols that can lower LDL (bad) cholesterol.

Cherries have been my favorite fruit since I was sneaking maraschino cherries from the fridge as a kid.  Sure I love them in pies and cobblers and can eat a pound of fresh cherries in a sitting, but my favorite use is in sauces and salsas served with meat or fish.  Here are a couple personal favorites that I make every year and a cooking video to simplify them from Dig In Colorado, a local gardening and cooking show.  Buon Appetito, Salute!  Chef Mick Rosacci, TonysMarket.com

Fresh Cherry Salsa Recipe
Great served with just about anything grilled, especially beef, bison and pork, and you can make this salsa as mild or spicy as you like.

2 cups pitted fresh cherries, chopped
1/3 cup chopped red onion
1/3 cup fresh chopped basil
1/3 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
2-3 tsp fresh lemon juice

½ tsp fresh lemon zest, to taste
½ tsp fine sea salt, to taste
honey, agave or sugar – to taste
dashes of Worcestershire sauce, optional
dashes of hot sauce, optional

Start with the sweetest cherries possible and pit with an olive or cherry pitter.  Chop as desired and combine with remaining ingredients, adjusting quantities to taste. Refrigerate at least 1 hour and serve. Great with grilled meats, especially bison, beef, pork, chicken and salmon. –Chef Mick Rosacci, TonysMarket.com

Blossoms from a local sweet cherry tree, sadly destroyed by a cold snap shortly after this photo.

Salmon with Fresh Cherry Sauce
Sweet cherries simmered into a sauce and served with salmon, this sauce is also amazing with red meats, pork and chicken.

3 cups pitted fresh cherries
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, finely minced
2 TBS honey
2 TBS fresh lemon juice
1 tsp freshly grated lemon peel
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

2-3 LBS fresh salmon, preferably wild Copper River
olive or canola oil
Tony’s Lemon Dill or Sweet Salmon Rub, or your favorite seasoning

Choose the sweetest cherries possible, preferably local, and pit with a cherry or olive pitter.  Chop to create the sauce consistency you prefer; leave whole for a chunky sauce, or chop coarse to fine, or even a combination is good.

In large saucepan combine prepared cherries through pepper flakes and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer slowly, uncovered, about 30 minutes or until mixture thickens, stirring frequently, taste and adjust.

Brush salmon with olive oil, season lightly with salt and pepper and grill on a clean, medium hot, and oiled grill just until done (still moist and slightly pink in the center.) Serve generously slathered with cherry sauce. –Chef Mick Rosacci, TonysMarket.com

Tart cherry blossoms in Japan; with high acidity and flavor, tart cherries make the best pies.

Other Recipes

Cherry Clafouti

A local Rainier Cherry, not suggested for cooking

Cherries in custard, perhaps the ultimate cherry dessert!

Bing Cherry Pie
Normally pies are made with tart cherries, but you’ll love this version with mascarpone, an award winner from a Tony’s shopper.

Ricotta and Cherry Strudel
An amazing dessert from Lidia Bastianich.

Cherries in Chianti
Cherries in sweet wine with spices, from our own Chef Ben Davis.

Coconut Risotto with Cherries
A creamy, sweet dessert risotto from Italy.

Cherry Cobbler
A little bit of work, but definitely worth it!

 
Please share this with fellow foodies, ciao!

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