Charred Cherry, Balsamic, Fried Sage Relish sings spring into summer with its burst of concentrated cherry flavor. All too often cherries only appear loaded down with added sugar in desserts, but their tangy kick and firm flesh make them ripe for a savory relish that compliments brined and grilled pork chops, roasted chicken, or grilled fresh porcini mushrooms.
A touch of Dijon, caper, and balsamic heighten the cherry’s balance of sweet and acid while creating a luscious sauce to pull through bits of tender meat or mushrooms*.
To protect yourself, those you serve, farm workers, and the environment, buy ripe cherries from farmers who abstain from spraying their fruit with pesticides. Cherries contain high levels of anthocyanins and other antioxidants, and might help arthritis pain by cutting down on the inflammation caused by uric acid and C-reactive protein (Zuckerbrot; American Institute for Cancer Research).
2 cups, cherries (whole, stems removed, washed and dried)
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and chopped
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon safflower oil
salt, to taste
For the fried sage leaves:
¼ cup oil olive
8 sage leaves, fried (set aside until just before service)
1. Preheat the grill to medium high heat.
2. Wash, dry, and toss the cherries in a little safflower oil and salt.
3. Cook the cherries for 5-6 minutes. Turn them often to ensure that they char on most sides.
4. Take the cherries off the grill and allow them to cool.
5. With a pairing knife and clean hands, gently remove the cherry flesh from the pits and throw the pits away.
6. Roughly chop the cherries, and place them in a stainless steel bowl with the extra virgin olive oil, chopped capers, balsamic vinegar, mustard, and a pinch of salt. Gently stir the relish to make sure that all of the ingredients are mixed.
7. While the ingredients mingle, prepare the fried sage by gently heating olive oil in a small fry pan.
8. Test the oil by dipping a leaf into it, and if the leaf starts to slowly sizzle, then the oil is hot enough.
9. Place about four leaves into the oil at a time. They should fry in about one minute. As soon as the leaves stop sizzling, pull them from the hot oil with a metal fork and place them on a paper towel to rest.
10. Check the seasoning of the relish: you might need to add another splash of vinegar or pinch of salt.
11. Prepare the pork chops or chicken. Right before serving, spoon the relish on the chops and crumble two fried sage leaves over the top of each chop.
* You can create a vegetarian entree by spooning the relish over grilled mushrooms--preferably grilled oyster or porcini mushrooms (a portobello would work, but I feel as if the portobello is completely overused as a vegetarian entree option).
"AICR's Foods That Fight Cancer." AICR All. American Institute for Cancer Research, 4 Dec. 2012. Web. 23 May 2016.
Zuckerbrot, Tanya. "Fill Up On Cherries." Prevention. Prevention Magazine, 19 July 2013. Web. 23 May 2016.