Cherry Mostarda

Cherry mostarda

Cherries are the It fruit right now, and I know you could easily just kick back on a hammock and eat a bowlful of them on a summer’s day, but why not jazz up your life a little and make a mostarda?

Making condiment sauces with seasonal, ripe fruit can a creative way to use up what doesn’t get eaten straight out of the fridge. Fresh fruit mustards taste so much better than the usual mustard or ketchup you can buy and squeeze out of a plastic bottle.

This recipe is a riff on a traditional Italian condiment, mostarda di frutta, a sweet-hot-tangy preserve. Most versions of a mostarda, like Mostarda di Cremona, tend to consist of whole pieces of fruit in a mustard and vinegar-laced sugar syrup, served with meats in northern regions of Italy like Tuscany and Piedmont.

cherry mostarda

My recipe is very much inspired by Madeleine Kamman, the amazing French cooking teacher and food scholar. Her book In Madeleine’s Kitchen includes some recipes for “Italian-style fruit puree mustards”.

Here are some ideas for what to do with your Cherry Mostarda (because believe me, after pitting a few pounds of cherries you will not want to waste a bit!) :

  • Use cherry mostarda in place of Dijon mustard in a salad dressing to make a cherry vinaigrette.
  • Spread a charcoal-grilled burger with mostarda – I seasoned chicken burgers with fennel and fresh rosemary and topped them with goat cheese and mostarda. Yum.
  • Glaze a pork tenderloin or some chicken wings with mostarda.
  • Put some on a ham sandwich.

** Thanks to Ruthie from The Twice Bitten for her idea of another way to enjoy this mostarda – on a cheese board. Yes!

Cherry Mostarda

Ingredients

1 pound Bing cherries, pitted

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup full-bodied red wine, such as zinfandel or malbec

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Instructions

  1. Combine everything except the Dijon in a small, heavy saucepan. Bring to a simmer then lower heat and cook until reduced to a thick puree with the consistency of ketchup, about 1 hour over low heat. Stir in the Dijon off the heat and season if needed.
  2. Crush the cherries with a potato masher or pulse in a blender or food processor if you prefer a smoother texture.
  3. Keep in a covered jar in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks.
http://familystylefood.com/2011/06/cherry-mostarda/

Oatmeal with Amarena Italian Cherries & Almonds

After posting my recipe for homemade oatmeal mix the other day, I remembered that I wanted to share this idea for topping off your morning oats.

Admittedly, it’s a little indulgent. Amarena cherries are a type of tart cherry grown in northern Italy. They’re soaked in grappa or brandy and packed in cherry syrup, and let me tell you they are the Cherry Bomb. I really like their tart sweetness and intense almond-like essence.

It could be that the word “amarena”  makes me think of amaretto. I’m not sure how the extracted almond flavor is achieved; whether it’s naturally how the cherries taste or if they’re enhanced by the type of brandy used – all I know is the cherries work very nicely paired with the crunch of toasted almonds and warm, creamy oats.

I didn’t find much info on how amarena cherries are made;  if you know more I’d love to hear.

They are sweet and rich, but a little goes a long way here. Feel good knowing that cherries are regarded as a superfood with protective benefits against degenerative disease.

Oatmeal with Amarena Italian Cherries & Almonds

Serving Size: makes 1 serving

Ingredients

1/2 cup homemade oatmeal mix

1 cup almond milk

1 teaspoon ground golden flaxseed

1 or 2 tablespoons amarena cherries in syrup, depending on your sweet tooth

1 tablespoon sliced almonds, toasted

Instructions

  1. Mix the oatmeal mix and milk in a microwaveable bowl; microwave on high heat for 1 - 1/2 minutes or until the milk is absorbed and the oats are thickened to your liking.
  2. Top the bowl with the flaxseed, cherries and almonds. Enjoy.
http://familystylefood.com/2011/03/oatmeal-with-amarena-italian-cherries-almonds/