This cherrylicious salsa was a huge hit at last night’s Cherry Fest at Whole Foods Market in Tustin and I guarantee it will be at your house, too. “Oh Sweet Cherry Salsa” highlights the essence of the fruit, is a breeze to make and requires NO cooking! The natural sweetness of the cherries pops with a touch of tart lime and subtle heat from serrano and jalapeño peppers.
Cherry Food Pairings
Cherry sauces are a natural pairing for pork and this beautiful vibrantly colored salsa would add a fresh zip to grilled pork (and chicken) or layer it with yogurt for a jazzy morning yogurt parfait. I served it on top of fresh grilled Copper River Salmon and it was fabulous! Copper River Salmon is now in season – I picked it up at the same time I bought the cherries. You can do even better by taking advantage of their nation-wide one-day super sale on cherries tomorrow – Friday, July 11th only, Bing cherries are on sale for $1.99!
At that price, it’s time to enjoy the best of summer’s fruit and stock up on peak-season cherries – both Rainier and Bing. My family gobbles up cherries out of hand – they never seem to last long enough to grace any baked good, but now that I’m a proud owner of a cherry pitter and at this amazing price, I may actually attempt one of the gorgeous cherry desserts I’ve seen as well as preserve some of summer’s sweetness by freezing, drying, and/or pickling a bunch. But let’s get back to that yummy salsa…
Cherry Salsa Recipe
- 1 pound Rainier and/or Bing cherries* pitted
- 1 red serrano pepper seeded and diced
- 1/2 jalapeño pepper seeded and diced
- 1 tablespoon Chaparral Gardens Kaffir Lime vinegar*
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses or syrup**
- 2 green onions chopped on the diagonal
- Garnish: Zest of 1 lime
- Special equipment: cherry pitter
Using a cherry pitter, pit the cherries, then slice crosswise into 3 or 4 “rings”. Mix in vinegar, pomegranate molasses, peppers, and most of the green onions, reserving some to sprinkle on top. Garnish with lime zest and remaining green onions.
I used a combination of Rainier and Bing cherries to add color interest. Mix in the Rainiers just before serving to preserve their golden color. Fresh lime juice can be substituted for the Kaffir Lime vinegar.
Pomegranate molasses is popular in Middle Eastern dishes and can be purchased at specialty or Middle Eastern markets.
Sorry for the dark picture, but the wildlings were chomping at the bit and wouldn’t allow whisking the platter away for better lighting 🙂
Fresh, grilled Copper River Salmon with Oh Sweet Cherry Salsa
Enhancing Flavors with Premium Vinegar
A note about Chaparral Garden vinegars: I can’t get enough of their award-winning artisan vinegars made with pure organic ingredients in California’s Central Coast – you can purchase them at their online store or if you’re lucky enough to live in or visit the Central Coast, seek them out at a local farmers market. Chaparral Gardens is 20 acres of natural landscape along with a 2 acres organic farm.
The wonderful microclimate on the California Central Coast allows them to grow a wide variety of fruits, herbs, and vegetables. All work to create their products is done by hand, from pulling weeds to hand labeling. Each time they send me a new flavor, I fall in love all over again. First it was the Winter Ambrosia which I featured in a Korean Pear, Cranberry, Pecan Salad, then it was Head Ancho in Bourbon Glazed Baby Back Ribs and Quinoa Stuffed Chile Rellenos and now it’s the Kaffir Lime. All Chaparral Gardens Artisan Vinegars start with hand-selected, hand-picked fruits, herbs, and vegetables grown on their organic farm.
In 2011, the couple’s Blackberry Balsamic took home a SOFI (Specialty Outstanding Food Innovation awards) Gold for Outstanding Salad Dressing and their Pacific Spice Vinegar garnered a SOFI Silver for Outstanding Cooking Sauce or Flavor Enhancer. SOFI came knocking again in 2012 with a Gold for their Champagne Mimosa vinegar. Congratulations, Cari and Craig!
Now let’s buy some cherries!
How to Freeze and Dry Cherries
Eat ’em now (out of hand, sprinkled over ice cream or yogurt, stirred into hot or cold cereal, blended into smoothies, tossed in fruit, grain or green salads OR in a deliciously fresh Oh Sweet Cherry Salsa!)… or save some for later.
FROZEN – to freeze cherries, remove pits and stems, and then spread in a single layer on baking sheets lined with parchment paper and place in the freezer. Once they’re frozen solid, transfer to a freezer-safe storage container.
DRIED – to dry cherries, remove pits and stems, and then spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, or on an oiled rack fitted into a rimmed baking sheet. Bake in a 200°F oven for several hours (6-8), until cherries are dried and wrinkly. Or use a dehydrator if you own one.
Disclosure: Whole Foods Market compensated me for this recipe and post for their Cherry Fest promotion. Opinions expressed are my own.