Beautifully dark cherries seem to have an inherent mystery abut them. They are deep, succulent, and sometimes surprisingly tangy. Their natural juices produce a lustful colour that reminds us just how sensuous this little stone fruit can be.
Cherries are somewhat overlooked in terms of their diversity. Seen mainly in sweets like pies, candied in a beverage, atop a snowy black forest cake or eaten by the handful, their true breadth of flavours can be ignored.
Cherries, particularly dark cherries, work exceptionally well in savoury, tangy, and fresh dishes. When in season they should be added to whatever will take their nectar-like attributes.
Here we pair classically zippy goat cheese with rich, ripe dark cherries atop a crostini, enriched with a generous helping of fresh herbs and a good amount of black pepper. Both the mint and black pepper work to accentuate the more licorice notes in the ripened stone fruit, while the lemon thyme and rosemary bring earthiness and citrus notes for balance.
A crostini, as we’ve used here, differs from a bruschetta. Bruschetta is slices of bread topped and warmed as a whole. Crostini, on the other hand, is made using crisp bread slices topped with a myriad of ingredients.
This is incredibly easy to make, serve, and eat, and is sure to change the way you think about using the iconic cherry.
(Makes 12 crostini)
1 loaf of ciabatta – cut into 12 ½ inch slices
20 dark cherries, pitted and cut into quarters
100 grams of goat cheese
1 teaspoon of honey
1 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon of lemon thyme leaves
½ teaspoon of chopped fresh rosemary
6 mint leaves torn in half
1 teaspoon of fine finishing salt, such as Maldon
Set a grill or grill pan over medium heat
Toast each slice of the ciabatta on both sides until lightly charred and crisp
In a bowl, combine the goat cheese, honey, pepper, lemon thyme, and rosemary and stir vigorously to combine
Spread each of the ciabatta slices with an even amount of the goat cheese mixture (about 1 heaping teaspoon) and top with approximately six pieces of cherries (more or less to your liking) and two pieces of mint. Finish by sprinkling with finishing salt