Thursday, June 26, 2014

Baby Greens with Fresh Cherries, Gorgonzola Cheese, & Chicken with Raspberry Vinaigrette to celebrate Fresh Cherries


It’s cherry time and I have a new recipe to add to my repertoire of cherry dishes – a main course salad of baby greens with fresh cherries, crumbled creamy gorgonzola cheese and grilled chicken, dressed with a raspberry walnut vinaigrette. Of course you could always exclude the chicken and make this a side salad to Ina’s roasted lemon chicken with homemade croutons, link to post & recipe here, which is what we are serving tonight for dinner guests.

The inspiration for this salad came from Better Homes and Garden’s Skinny One Dishes. They suggested bottled raspberry vinaigrette, which you know isn’t going to happen in this kitchen. I always make my own vinaigrettes and why not - it’s so easy to make your own and they come together in a matter of minutes. I’ve had luck finding raspberry vinegar at Italian markets and Amazon has a nice selection on line, link here.


The most daunting task with cherries is pitting them and I have a solution there too. A cherry pitter is one of my favorite kitchen gadgets and it also does a great job of pitting olives too. For years I had an old handheld pitter and after a while, my hand would start to hurt. Enter a gift from my brother-in-law – a brand new pitter that pits four cherries at a time with a swift one hand motion. It’s available at Sur la Table and happens to be on sale, link here. If you pit olives or cherries often, you owe it to yourself to have a pitter and I’m not a gadget person.

One quick tip about pitting and slicing cherries, especially light colored ones such as Rainier – don’t do it too far in advance or the edges of the cherries turn dark. I learned this from experience and I won’t make that mistake again.


Baby Greens with Fresh Cherries, Gorgonzola Cheese, & Chicken with Raspberry Vinaigrette
My Carolina Kitchen, Sam Hoffer – serves 4
Printable Recipe

4 cups baby greens
¾ cup fresh pitted and halved dark sweet fresh cherries
1 pound grilled or roasted chicken breasts, cut in half-strips, optional if you wish to make this a side salad
Maldon sea salt or other good quality sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¼ cup crumbled gorgonzola or blue cheese, or more to taste
Raspberry vinaigrette, recipe below

Combine baby greens, cherries, and chicken in a large salad bowl and toss well. Drizzle with the raspberry vinaigrette, then season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Taste the salad and correct seasonings if necessary. Serve on individual plates or in shallow bowls, garnish with the crumbled cheese, and serve right away.

Cook’s note: If you are working with light colored cherries such as Rainier, pit and slice them at the last minute, otherwise they may darken around the edges.

Raspberry Vinaigrette
My Carolina Kitchen, Sam Hoffer – serves 4
Printable Recipe

4 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
4 tablespoons walnut oil or extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch of sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 teaspoons crème fraîche or good quality sour cream

Combine ingredients in a small jar with a tight fitting lid and shake well. Use right away or make ahead and store in the refrigerator for several days.



From the archives, here are three more of my favorite cherry recipes, just in time for cherry season.




Spicy fresh cherry salsa with peaches, served with sliced pork tenderloin, link to post and recipe here.




Boozy cherries with lavender, an easy version of Cherries Jubilee, served over toast or vanilla ice cream, link to post and recipe here.




And another salad, this time with Rainier cherries, creamy goat cheese and crunchy pistachios over greens, link to post and recipe here.

This will be shared with Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farm, Miz Helen’s Country Kitchen Full Plate Thursday, and Foodie Friday at Simple Recipes.  

Have a great weekend everyone.

34 comments:

  1. Just in time for our cherry season too! We are fortunate to have access to all those Michigan cherries. I'm going to check out that pitter because it really is a chore that I don't relish.

    Best,
    Bonnie

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  2. I love the combination of chicken and cherries and this salad looks fantastic. I didn't even know there was such a thing as a pitter - definitely worth investing in!
    I'm visiting from Miz Helen's today. Have a wonderful Thursday.

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  3. One of my favorite salads with a Sam twist! Always have loved chicken, pears and walnut with gorgonzola, so this is right up my alley. Saw cherries in the market last week and am slowly eating them just as they are. Will try them in my salad today!

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  4. A beautiful salad! So many flavors going in this fantastic salad.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  5. I have walnut oil..have to check re the raspberry vinegar..I usually do..have cherries and a really basic pitter.Now I am in love with the SLT one..
    Next Florida trip..what a great price too!
    We dislike bought dressings too..a lot...
    One of your cherry salads will be for lunch:)

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  6. All the flavors that I love....your salad is beautiful. I bought a new cherry pitter last year...I must say that the one you found is much nicer...I thought I was in heaven moving up from my wimpy one!

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  7. Thanks for another great salad for our summer salad Wednesdays.

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  8. Great recipes for this hot time of year!

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  9. I must admit the title of this didn't really inspire me but after seeing it and knowing how well you do combining fruit and veggies, I'm sure I'd go for it. The other cherry recipes look delicious as well.

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  10. I could devour a whole bag of cherries myself I love them so much. What a delightful way to use them in this salad. I feel exactly the same as you regarding a cherry/olive pitter. Priceless gadget!

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  11. Sam, I'm generally not into fruit in my salads but with the chicken and gongonzola cheese, I do believe that I'd really like this one! It has a lot going for it! FYI...as per your comment on my blog about restaurants in the area. The same person that operates the Tanasi Grill also operates Doug's Place which is about 3 miles south and right on the edge of the village. Different menu but good food too! There is also a restaurant in the "Yacht Club", another one for Breakfast and Lunch in another golf club house and 2 others right on the edge of the village. Some good...some not so good. Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

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  12. Honestly, you could create a beautiful e-book on salads-- and I'd be the first to buy it. I don't make salads often enough, but you make them look so inviting and beautiful.

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  13. Sounds good Sam. I am not a gorgonzola girl, but I just put goat cheese when I see a recipe calling for gorgonzola. It works for me. Love the pitter. I will be picking one up soon, especially since it will do double duty.

    Madonna
    MakeMineLemon

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  15. wow what lovely salads I should add cherries more often

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  16. Your salad is the best, Sam! It looks delicious! And Cherries Jubilee is over the edge with goodness! I love cherries, but they're hard to find here. I usually go up into WI for them, but they're very expensive now, due to the harsh winter we had.

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  17. I'm crazy about cherries and this salad looks amazing. I'm not seeing them in the markets here yet but they'll be here soon and I can't wait!! What a great way to celebrate cherry season!

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  18. A very beautiful and delicious salad, Sam. I adore the comb of flavours.

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  19. What a lovely salad…I know your guests will love it. Thanks about the tip of pitting light colored cherries at the last minute.

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  20. Great idea, really like the cherries added for sweetness.

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  21. Me quedo con todas tus recetas CAROLINA... el toque de las cerezas les tiene que dar un sabor original y lleno de contrastes.
    DIVINO EL APARATITO DESCORAZONADOR!!!
    Gracias amiga, que disfruteis del fin de semana :)))
    Conxita

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  22. Oh it is winter here in New Zealand now, and I am craving cherries!!!

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  23. I bought a cherry pitter two years ago and it's not pitted one single cherry. This salad looks beautiful Sam, and you know I'll be digging through drawers to find that pitter so I can make this.

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  24. Yeah for cherry season! All of your recipes sound wonderful Sam.

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  25. Happy Saturday Sam!
    When we visit our daughter in Oregon and the cherries are in season, we just can't get enough of those wonderful cherries. This is a great salad to enjoy those great cherries with your delicious Vinaigrette.

    Hope you have a great weekend and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday!
    Come Back Soon,
    Miz Helen

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  26. Cherries are my favorite Sam, love that you incorporated this into a salad.

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  27. Sam..I had to make some modifications because of what I had or did not have on hand..but this turned out to be a lovely salad today after a HOT morning of yard work..
    Thanks!

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  28. I'm always inspired by your different salads using fruit - what a great idea to use cherries and gorgonzola in a salad!

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  29. I do agree that fresh cherries have to be celebrated! I never think to pair them with savory but oooh with gorgonzola is perfect! And the chicken. I love this fresh salad!

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  30. Yes it is cherry season. Definitely a favourite time of the year. This is a very tempting salad Sam.

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  31. Your salads are so imaginative and fresh and delicious, Sam! I love fresh cherry time of the summer!

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  32. Other than a cherry sauce on duck in a French restaurant I've never had them in a savory dish. This looks a wonderful salad I will be trying soon. Pinned.

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  33. Yay cherries. I bought a ton. Will be making this for lunch. Thank-you!

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  34. Alexis eats fresh cherries by the bag, I KNOW that I'll have to pin this and make it for her. Great tip about the pitter. We use an OXO but it only does one at a time.

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