Although the season is winding down, you can still find cherries here and there at some farmers markets and certainly in your supermarket. Suzen is always picking up a bag and sampling on the drive home. Last week, I was in Yellowstone National Park and my daughter gave me one she had brought from Washington State.
I ate it, enjoyed it, and spit the seed out. My daughter, her boyfriend, and my wife surrounded me. How dare I contaminate a national park? I do feel ashamed. I do. I’m sorry. I was just thinking of the poor chipmunks and the snow that was coming. In September.
But if thirty years from now, you are in Yellowstone and find a cherry tree in the wild, please enjoy the fruit and remember me fondly. Somebody has to.
In the meantime, if you should buy some cherries, here’s something to do besides eat them raw or make cherry pie. You can poach the cherries and then use them at will: over ice cream, with pound cake, or even atop brownies. Poached in wine with sugar and spices, these cherries are deep red treat.
Yield: 6+ cups
- 4 cups red wine [any kind]
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- Peel of 2 oranges, white pith removed
- 1 whole clove
- ½ stick cinnamon
- 4 cups cherries, pitted, but kept whole
In a medium saucepan, bring the red wine to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the sugar and continue to boil until the liquid has reduced to about one-third of its original volume. Add the orange and lemon peels, clove and cinnamon stick and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat.
Please the cherries in a large sauce pan and strain the red wine mixture over them. Bring to a boil over high heat, then removed from the heat and set aside to cool.
Refrigerate and use in 2-3 days.
Source: Payard Desserts by Francois Payard
Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/4.5 for 1/40th second at ISO‑250
Lamb Chops with Roasted Cherry Vinaigrette
Yield: serves 6
For the vinaigrette:
- 1 pound fresh sweet cherries such as Bing or Rainer, pitted and halved
- 8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Sat salt, preferably gray salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 6 scallions, white part only, cut on the bias into ¼ inch pieces
- 1 ½ tablespoons tarragon vinegar
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon
For the lamb:
- 18 lamb chops cut from a rack of lamb, at room temperature
- Sea salt, preferably gray salt
- Extra-virgin olive oil for brushing
For the vinaigrette, preheat the oven to 450°F. In a large bowl, mix the cherries with 7 tablespoon of the oil. Season with salt and pepper. Heat an ovenproof sauté pan or skillet over medium-high heat, add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, and heat until shimmering. Add half of the cherries and toss them once or twice. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast until the cherries around the edges of the pan begin to turn lightly brown, about 2 minutes. Remove from the oven and add to the remaining half of the cherries. Add the scallions, vinegar and tarragon. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Set aside.
For the lamb chops, prepare a hot wood fire in a charcoal grill or have a grill pan ready. Season both sides of each chop with salt. Brush lightly over with olive oil. If using a grill pan, heat the pan over high heat and oil and pan. Grill the chops for 3-4 minutes on each side. Transfer the chops to a platter and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
If serving with polenta, place a mound of polenta on each warmed plate. Place 3 chops on the top of the polenta with bones pointing towards the plate’s center. Top with a spoonful of vinaigrette. Ladle any extra vinaigrette into small ramekins to pass at the table.