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.
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!
- 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
- 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.
- Crush the cherries with a potato masher or pulse in a blender or food processor if you prefer a smoother texture.
- Keep in a covered jar in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks.