poached cherry, roasted balsamic red onions and goat's cheese salad with cherry vinaigrette

poached cherry and goat's cheese salad with cherry vinaigrette
When it comes to recipes, I am something of a tinkerer. I find something I like and then wonder to myself whether there was something I might have missed. Could the recipe be improved?

In itself, this is not a problem. Unless you are like me; you write a food blog and have set yourself the challenge of getting out of a culinary rut (number one in my culinary New Year's resolutions). I had assumed that no-one would want to read the same old, same old, with my minor tweaks and fol-de-rols.There are also times when frankly I had tinkered too far and the food was only fit for the compost heap. (But let that be our little secret.)

But every so often, a tiny change makes a tongue-tingling revelation. I had a bit of a hallelujah moment and I felt that this time I really had to share!

Last summer I made a cherry and feta salad and believed that the combination of tangy feta with sweet cherries was a marriage made in heaven. How could you improve on perfection? It turns out that you can by including tiny shavings of a French saucisson sec (a little like Italian bresaola), roasted balsamic red onions and replacing the feta with a soft rinded goat's cheese. Not a marriage made in heaven, possibly nirvana!

Serves 4
Skill level: Easy

poached cherries150g fresh cherries, pitted
6 tbsp wine (red or white wine, or sherry) or water
1 tbsp honey
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp cherry syrup (reserved cherry poaching liquid)
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
salt and freshly ground black pepper
a pinch of sugar (optional)
1 x red onion, cut into about 4 slices
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (red or white)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sugar
salt and freshly ground black pepper
mixed salad leaves
100g goat's cheese (with rind), torn into small chunks
30g toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
a few slices of cured meat


  1. Pre-heat the oven too 180C / Gas Mark 4.
  2. Heat the wine or water in a small saucepan and add the honey. Stir until the honey dissolves. Add the cherries and poach for 1 to 2 minutes. Set aside to cool. Strain the cherries but reserve the syrupy poaching liquid (which will be used in the vinaigrette).
  3. Put the red onion slices on a baking tray and drizzle over the balsamic vinegar and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle over the sugar and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20-25 minutes until softened. (Turn once.) Leave to cool.
  4. Combine all the dressing ingredients (including some of the reserved cherry syrup) and whisk well to ensure that they have emulsified. Check the seasoning. While you will need to add salt and pepper, you may need a pinch or 2 of sugar to balance out the flavour.
  5. Dress the salad leaves with about 1 tablespoon of the dressing.
  6. Divide the dressed salad between 4 plates. Top each plate with a little of the poached cherries, red onion, goat's cheese and hazelnuts.
  7. I topped my salad with a few very thin slices of saucisson sec and took my plate into the garden to enjoy the salad in the dappled sunlight with a large glass of chilled white wine. Definitely nirvana!


Liz Thomas said...

"Not a marriage made in heaven, possibly nirvana!"

Oh! Yes indeed! This sounds wonderful and cherries are here at the moment (cost a fortune but I'm going to splash out at the weekend).

No saucisson sec unfortunately but plenty of lovely Portuguese presunto which I think will work. But no goat cheese for me -- I cannot stand the stuff -- so will revert to feta.

Hope you are enjoying the heatwave -- we've pouring rain here!

Thanks for the lovely recipe.


Liz Thomas said...

Drat! How am I going to roast the onions with no oven -- forgot that. I've got a tiny toaster oven, perhaps I can manage that if I monitor it closely!

Liz Thomas said...

Well. I did it! The onions did just fine in my toaster oven and were totally delicious. Going to use your recipe for them for loads of other things -- a lovely oniony pasta comes to mind!7981

I didn't pit the cherries, no pitter and too lazy to do it by hand but they poached perfectly by giving them double the time. Spitting pits just added to the fun!