Wednesday, July 13, 2011
I spent half an hour at the end of last week sitting outside pitting a couple of pounds of these sweet cherries from Kimball Fruit Farm. This activity taught me that somebody needs to invent a functioning cherry pitter; I made it through about half of them before I switched to a paring knife.
The cherry halves went into a pie of sorts, but the whole cherries (well, except for the pits) took a bath in brine. The recipe comes from the June issue of Bon Appetit, the one with Gwyneth Paltrow on the cover. Did the celebrity on the cover of a food magazine bother anyone else? It's weird, I'm not a big fan of the new design of the magazine; to me it feels like they're trying way too hard to be hip what with all the letterpress styling and what not. On the other hand, I've been tempted by more of the recipes in the last couple of issues than over the winter... but that might have more to do with me finishing school and having time to read magazines again than Adam Rapoport's takeover.
ANYWAY, enough ruminating on the state of food publishing. Pickled cherries! Deliciously odd, peppery sweet, perfect with the last jar of duck rillettes we had in the house. If you've got cherries around, why not pickle them?
Adapted only slightly from Bon Appetit
BA suggests pairing these with pate or as part of a salumi platter, which was great, but I think I'm going to serve some with seared duck breast later this week, too. I'd love to know how you would use them.
12 ounces (3/4 pound) sweet cherries
3/4 cup distilled white vinegar
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 sprig rosemary
First, wash and pit the cherries. If you use a pitter you'll end up with whole cherry pickles, but halves would work fine, too, if you'd rather use a paring knife.
Combine the vinegar, water, sugar, pepper, coriander and red pepper flakes in a medium sauce pan (use stainless steel or another non reactive pan, aluminum will react with the vinegar). Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer for five minutes. Strain the brine through a sieve into a bowl to remove the solids, then return the liquid to the pan and add the cherries and rosemary. Simmer for a few minutes until the cherries are just barely tender.
Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cherries and rosemary sprig to a one pint mason jar. Carefully pour enough of the brine into the jar to cover the cherries. Let the jar cool at room temperature for a couple of hours, then cover and chill. Makes about 2 cups.