I once again found myself this week with my ever-constant summer dilemma: too much of a good thing, in this case, cherries. I know life is tough! But seriously, it's hard to get too worked up when my biggest problem is how to use up all this amazing summer produce that I can't help buying week to week. The truth is, I'm easily seduced by the mountains of fruits and veggies at the store and farmers market, so I often end up buying seemingly more than I really need for the week. The big miracle in all of this is that I always end up using all this extra stuff I buy in new recipes (excess produce is great for inspiring kitchen experiments), appetizers for a family get-together, and make-shift lunches (you mean cherries with a spoonful of peanut butter isn't a balanced meal?).
...but back to my cherry dilemma. I had both traditional Bing and Rainier cherries on hand and was looking for a way to continue enjoying them after gobbling them up as-is. I'm not big on sweets, mostly because baking a whole set of cherry muffins or scones or a pie would be too much sugar for me and my family on a day-to-day basis. So I began to wonder, as I often do, about creating a savory dish out of what we would normally think of as a sweet fruit. Thus, my spicy cherry salad was born. It plays on the sweet-tart of the cherries to balance out the bitterness of dandelion greens and the heat of red chile flakes, while the pistachios add a welcome crunch and earthiness. The lime dressing ties all these flavors together in a perfectly light meal.
1 cup Rainier cherries, halved and pitted
1 cup Bing cherries, halved and pitted
1/3 cup unsalted pistachios
1/4 cup dandelion greens, shredded
1 teaspoon dried red chile flakes
1/ lime, juiced
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt to taste (optional)
Combine lime juice and olive oil in a mason jar and shake until combined. Set aside. In a separate bowl, combine cherries, dandelion greens, chile flakes, pistachio, and salt if desired. Pour lime dressing over mixture and stir until thoroughly incorporated. Divide salad between two shallow bowls. Serves two. Enjoy!
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