Sunday, April 13, 2008


Roasted Cherry and Hazelnut Salad with Warm Cheese

I tell you kids, there are stars dancing in my hazel-colored eyes.

On Saturday night, after a delish dinner of fish tacos (natch), The Ombudsman and I moseyed on up to the spectacularly awesome Griffith Observatory to check out the rings of Saturn and craters of the moon at their monthly star-gazing lawn party.

What can I say…it was celestial. The evening was balmy, the city lights were a-twinkle (oh yea. A-twinkling.) and the mood was just right.

Makes a girl want her own telescope, (and a space walk!) I tells ya…but I would probably use mine to spy on the neighbors as often as I would spy on the heavens.

(Oh admit it, so would you.)

Actually, I think I’d like it to zoom in through a restaurant window and just take a little look-see at what people are eating. How fun would that be?

The first place I would zoom in on (with my magic telescope) would fer sher be the Zuni Café up there in San Francisco. (What? It’s an imaginary magical telescope! I can look anyplace I want!)

They are legendary and just a tiny peek at their world-famous roast chicken would be worth the effort (of calibrating my magic telescope to do such a thing.)

I think I would also have to patiently wait, watching every order to check out how they plate this salad. Since it is also from their cookbook (renowned, beloved and beyond delightful) and I am curious what their version would look like.

Mine was a riot of colors. Reds and greens, creamy white and burnished gold. Come to think of it, much like the rings of Saturn itself. The only difference between my version and theirs is that their recipe (I found) was a bit fussy, so I’ve paired it down a scoatch.

The main thing here is that cherries are oh-so-very not in season here in North America land, so unless you have some frozen and are in a defrosting kinda mood (which I actually was. These beauties were picked in Washington last summer, expressly for me. Awww…) I would suggest giving this another month or so before trying (cruel, aren’t I!)

Now try this my peaches, and taste the joy.

1 cup whole cherries (with the pits)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 ounce Kirsh
2 Tablespoons Raspberry balsamic vinegar
8 ounces mixed greens (I used something called California mix from Bristol Farms, I quite liked it, since there were lots of fuschia colored greens tossed in)
6 ounces Saint-Marcellin cheese,
8 slices toasted baguette (crostini)
Salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 350F.

Rub the cherries with a few drops of olive oil, season with kirsch and a pinch of salt.

In a small bowl whisk together the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Add a few drops of the kirsch, taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Slice the cheese into six equal portions.

Place each portion of the cheese on top of a crostini on a parchment lined baking sheet. Place the cherries on another sheet pan. Roast until the fruit is near bursting and the cheese is beginning to slouch, about 6 minutes,watching the cheese carefully.

Dress the lettuces and hazelnuts very lightly in the vinaigrette and arrange on six plates, leaving the nuts behind for the moment. Garnish with the warm cherries and their juice and nest the warm cheese crostini next to each salad. Sprinkle hazelnuts over the top of the salads. Season with salt and pepper and serve with additional slices of toasted peasant-style bread.

© 2008 Fresh Approach Cooking

© 2008 Rachael at "Fresh Approach Cooking" This RSS Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, or at the aforementioned url, the site you are looking at might be guilty of infringing upon terms of copyright. This means you choice cooking recipes. Stop stealing my content.

Kirsch, also known as Kirschwasser, is a fiery clear cherry brandy made of black cherries and their pits.

Zuni Cafe is located at1658 Market St.(bet. Franklin & Gough Sts.) in San Francisco, CA.

Broadway in New York City shifts west at East 10th Street because a cherry tree once stood there.

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Picked for you? Lucky, lucky woman.

I don't have the Zuni Cafe book. Why not, I wonder...
I can't wait for cherry season, this looks wonderful!
what a pretty salad!
I have never heard of roasted cherries, Rachael. That is a beautiful salad!
Um, next time I hope I get to actually taste the salad! Damn, sho is a fine lookin' salad.
I made a dried cherry salad with hazelnuts and blue cheese last spring. But roasted cherries? That sounds spectacular! I can't wait to get farm fresh cherries now.
What interesting ingredients! I love this salad!!!!
How yummy does that sound?! And it's even kosher for Passover. Yum.
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