Monday, May 30, 2011

Cherries as Olives

Coronado's Summer Concert in the Park series has arrived. Three of our "cooking couples" moved over to the island this past year, and we anticipate another summer of extravagant, gourmet themed picnics. We didn't plan a theme for the first concert last evening, but our spread was simply amazing.

Alec treated us to Lomo al Trapo, Salt Crusted Beef Tenderloin Grilled in Cloth, from Primal Grill with Steven Raichlen, Volume One. I forgot my camera, but it was quite a sight to see Alec on his hands and knees in the grass, wrapping up the tenderloin in salt and cloth, and then cradling it in his arms as he walked over and placed it directly on a bed of fiery embers. After cracking off the crust of what appeared to be a burnt log, pieces of the most succulent, perfectly cooked beef tenderloin were snatched up as fast as he could slice it (see a YouTube video, here).  More fingers came dangerously close to the knife as Brent sliced pieces of his grilled Bacon-Wrapped Venison Tenderloin.

In addition to the very special beef and venison tenderloins, we savored Shrimp with Garlic Aioli, Perfect Roast Chicken (Bouchon), smoky Grilled Asparagus, garlicky Caesar Salad,  Kale and Couscous Salad, Cherries as Olives (Made in Spain: Spanish Dishes for the American Kitchen), and Burrata, Tomato and Strawberry Salad (Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours).

In addition to Roast Chicken, and the Burrata Salad, I shared a bowl of Cherries as Olives, and was thrilled to receive so many oohs and aahs. Chris even suggested starting a side business - they're that good! I adore cherries, in so many different ways, but this simple olive marinade preparation, used with cherries instead, is pure genius. I wish I could take credit and start a booming business with these, but chef José Andrés is the hero here.  Grab a bag of fresh cherries while they're in season, and try these for yourself.  I'd love to hear more oohs and aahs after you do.

Cherries as Olives

1 lb. (4 cups) fresh cherries
1 orange
1 lemon
5 garlic cloves
4 fresh rosemary sprigs
6 fresh thyme sprigs
2 fresh bay leaves
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup Spanish aged sherry vinegar
1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1 cup Marcona almonds, optional

Stem and pit the cherries and put them in a medium bowl. Using a vegetable peeler, remove half the zest from the orange and lemon. Peel the garlic cloves and smash with the flat side of a kitchen knife. Add the zest, garlic, rosemary, thyme, and bay leaves to the cherries in the bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, sherry vinegar and salt, and pour over cherries. Gently toss to coat, cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate, and marinate overnight. Allow cherries to come to room temperature before serving. Fold in almonds, if using, just prior to serving.

I missed the tip to add Marcona almonds for added crunch, but that just gives me another reason to make these again, and again, and again...

Americans have fallen in love with Spanish food in recent years, and no one has done more to play matchmaker than the award-winning chef José Andrés. In this irresistible companion volume to his public television show Made in Spain, José reminds us—in the most alluring and delicious way—that the food of his native Spain is as varied and inventive as any of the world’s great cuisines. To prove it, José takes us on a flavorful tour of his beloved homeland, from Andalucía to Aragón. Along the way, he shares recipes that reflect not just local traditions but also the heart and soul of Spain’s distinctive cooking.In the Basque Country, we discover great fish dishes and the haute cuisine of some of the finest restaurants in the world. In Cantabria, famous for its dairy products, we find wonderful artisanal cheeses. In Valencia, we learn why the secret to unforgettable paella is all in the rice. And in Castilla La Mancha, José shows us the land of the great Don Quixote, where a magical flower produces precious saffron.The dishes of Made in Spain show the diversity of Spanish cooking today as it is prepared in homes and restaurants from north to south—from casual soups and sandwiches to soul-warming dishes of long-simmered beans and artfully composed salads. Many dishes showcase the fine Spanish products that are now widely available across America. Many more are prepared with the regular ingredients available in any good supermarket.With more than one hundred simple, straightforward recipes that beautifully capture the flavors and essence of Spanish cooking, Made in Spain is an indispensable addition to any cookbook collection.


This recipe works fabulous with fresh blueberries!  Serve with toasted baguette slices, and brie or goat cheese.


bunkycooks said...

That is brilliant! I will definitely be making these. Glad to see you are back at the park for the summer and I hope we can join you for one of these events soon!

Anonymous said...

This looks like a perfect picnic pairing! When the Ravinia summer series starts in Chicago, I'll definitely be making this dish to bring and share!

Lenna said...

Now that is really original and creative way how to use cherries...I just love it!

Lizzy said...

Wow, what a feast! And I love this different use for looks fabulous~

Jessie said...

Holy Cherry, those are fabulous. I tested them, loved them and made them for a summer-fruits tapas plate along with bacon-wrapped stuffed apricots and an summer-apple-gazpacho. Great! Thanks for sharing the recipe.