Are you a roaster?
I am! When cooking, I think roasting and braising impart the greatest flavors. And while I’ve roasted a ton of veggies in my day, roasting fruit is pretty new to me. But these roasted cherries are AMAZING! I used both dark, sweet cherries and Rainier cherries for the contrast of sweet and tart as well as the variety of color. While the roasting definitely enhances their sweetness, it also adds a savory richness. Hard to describe, but addicting!
This is a unique salad. But all the elements combine well. The pan seared chicken and potato gnocchi are the perfect canvases for the juices of the roasted cherries. Tarragon enhances the cherries and chicken. Pistachios add a crunchy bite.
Ohhhh these roasted cherries are beautiful! Definitely the jewels of this salad!
This salad can stand alone. The potato gnocchi is akin to using pasta, for me. But you can certainly toss in a handful of greens if you’d like. Or simply serve this on top of a plate of peppery arugula which has been tossed lightly with the Parmesan vinaigrette.
Speaking of the Parmesan vinaigrette, you will love this light but tangy dressing. It pulls all of the sweet and savory flavors together. And it’s especially good with the potato gnocchi, which relies on the stronger flavors of this salad in order to be special.
This Parmesan vinaigrette would be a good alternative to a Caesar dressing. And I think it would be great paired with a steak salad!
I hope this special summer salad will open your mind to the possibility of roasting fruit! Try it before these beautiful cherries fall out of season!
“The greedy one gathered all the cherries, while the simple one tasted all the cherries in one.” Mark Nepo
- Parmesan Vinaigrette:
- ⅓ cup of olive oil
- ¼ cup of freshly and finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard
- 3 Tablespoons of white balsamic vinegar
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground pink peppercorns
- For The Salad:
- 2 cups of sweet cherries, stems removed but not pitted
- 4 Tablespoons of olive oil, divided
- 1 pound of skinless chicken tenders, cut into strips
- 1 pound of uncooked gnocchi
- ¼ cup of chopped pistachios
- 1 Tablespoon of chopped tarragon
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- To make the dressing, simply combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside until ready to use.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Spread the cherries out onto the prepared baking sheet and drizzle them with 2 Tablespoons of olive oil. Toss them to coat. Roast the cherries until they are tender, slightly shriveled and brown; about 35 minutes.
- When they are done, allow them to cool enough to handle them, about 10 minutes. Pick each cherry up with both hands and gently push out the pit with your thumb. (It's easier and quicker than it sounds!) Place the cherries in a large bowl.
- Cook the gnocchi according to the package directions. Once you've drained them, run them under cold water to stop the cooking.
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
- Heat the remaining 2 Tablespoons of oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Cook the chicken until golden brown about 5-6 minutes.
- Add the gnocchi, chicken, pistachios, and tarragon to the bowl with the cherries. Add the dressing and toss well to coat before serving.
Know your farmer, know your food. Support your local farmers!