One of the pleasures of living in Texas is driving through the Hill Country during spring and seeing fields of beautiful wildflowers — and the occasional wild cherry tree with masses of bright-pink cherry blossoms. The blossoms are precursors to sweet cherries and other stone fruits arriving in stores. Cherries will reach their peak sweetness within the next few weeks, so grab them while you can. They are best eaten on their own but are also fantastic in salads. Cumin seeds and oregano add a savory, spicy contrast to the cherries in this salad.
makes ~4-6 servings
2 cups cherries, pitted and sliced in half
2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
½ teaspoon salt
½ lemon, juiced
3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
Pinch chili powder
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Mix cherries, tomatoes, salt, lemon juice, pine nuts and oregano together in a bowl. Sprinkle the chili powder on top.
In a small pan, heat the olive oil until just shy of smoking. Add the cumin seeds and almost immediately remove from heat. Add in the garlic off the heat and let it cook in the oil slightly. Pour oil mixture on top of the chili powder to eliminate the raw taste of the chili. Toss to combine and serve immediately.
ideas / variations
Though you could remove cherry pits with a knife, the easiest way is to buy a cherry pitter, available in most specialty kitchen stores.
Oregano may be replaced with basil or mint.
Adding crumbled goat cheese makes a delicious finish.