There is nothing like sweet cherries when they are in season! I can sit there and eat a whole bag if I tried. But, I always just eat the cherries raw. Believe me there’s nothing wrong with that. I just started to think that there’s got to be some exciting ways to incorporate them into dishes I make. I started with my Paleo Cherry Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins I posted earlier this week. But I did some even further experimenting with today’s recipe for Balsamic Cherry, Feta and Quinoa Summer Salad.
The reason I say experimented is that I soaked the cherries to make a combined dressing and topper for the salad. When you soak fruit in a liquid it tends to absorb a lot of the flavor and takes on its own new qualities. I thought balsamic would create this sweet and tangy effect. And I was right, the cherries became even more sweet, in fact. They also took on some of the tartness from the vinegar. I really enjoyed the pairing and I may just be doing this technique more often!
The other note I want to make on cherries is about pitting them to use in recipes such as this salad. I’m going to be honest, I’ve never really worked on pitting cherries in the past. So I googled (as everyone else would) on the best technique. I came across a bunch of articles and videos to help with the process. I’ll link the one I ultimately felt was the easiest to follow here. I thought the paper clip method to push out the pit sounded easy enough, and well I’ll admit it, I couldn’t do it! Have any of you had success with this? I ended up using the paring knife method and it worked well. I can’t say every cherry came out picture perfect but, hey that’s ok. Use whichever is easiest for you but you do want them pitted and halved so the balsamic mixture can penetrate the fruit to soak in the flavors!
This salad is a great mix of textures and flavors and the seasonality of the ingredients makes it great for summer. Enjoy on a hot night with a big glass of pinot noir.
…all for the love of the dish
- 4 cups spring mix
- 1/2 cup cherries, pitted and halved
- 1/3 cup feta
- 1/2 cucumber, peeled and quarter diced
- 1/3 cup raw walnuts
- 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- First prepare the cherry balsamic mixture. Wash and halve cherries and put in a small bowl. Add balsamic, olive oil, salt and pepper ( I used about 1/2 tsp each but adjust to your taste). Put this in the fridge for up to 2 hours before serving.
- Once ready to eat salad. Add quinoa, feta, walnuts, cucumber and the cherry balsamic dressing to the lettuce.
- Toss salad and serve.