Thanks to Bryan for bringing us five flats of beautiful currants. We managed to put away a good deal of jelly for Cumberland sauce. It’s great to have a friend like Bryan. We can always rely on him to bring us interesting things, without our having to go chasing them down ourselves.
The arrival of cherries marks begins the time of the year when fruit options are plentiful. Blueberries and stone fruits aren’t too far behind, which will soon be followed by melons and grapes, and then apples and pears before you know it.
Then nothing but apples for seven and a half months.
Cherry season season was made extra special this year given the fact that there was crop failure in our region last year. We got a few from Maryland to get us by last year, but they weren’t the same as Kistaco’s, which has the best flavor. I’m not sure what the variety is, but it’s ideal for sour cherry pie and preserves.
Sometimes we get so excited about certain things around here that we put way more energy into preserving them than in actually serving them fresh. I suppose part if this is because I am a collector (some might say a hoarder) at heart. It’s fun preparing an entire season’s worth of jars ready for winter, and then seeing all of them sitting on the shelves in the fall.
Lately, however, we’re trying to enjoy things fresh in season and preserving less. This year we made more sour cherry pies than ever. We made sour cherry gastrique for the walleye dish we were serving, as well as a sauce of sour cherries, cider vinegar reduction, and goat demi glace which we served with tallow-aged goat rib chops.
But don’t worry: plenty of cherries made it to jars, mostly in the form of jam, which we’ll use as a base for a sauce for duck confit this fall. We put away around ten jars of cherry pie filling too, a Legume cult favorite, which we’ll serve sometime in January in order to (hopefully) drum up some business when it’s slow.
When I was a small boy, I used to watch our neighbor Gibby wander around our lawn searching for dandelion greens, which he’d dig up with a very large flathead screw driver looking thing. My parents thought it was a little strange, but the image stuck with me and inspires this salad. Wild dandelion greens from Chris and Aeros, jowl bacon vinaigrette, Parmesan, 5-minute poulet egg, and the last of last season’s giardiniera. It’s pretty much the best salad we make all year.