It's confusing when you are confronted with different types of fruit. It's cherry season and there were about four types in the supermarket. Practicality dictates to get the cheapest variety but they pale in comparison to the more expensive types beside it. Dark red, shiny and and irresistible looking cherries from Vignola (a town near Modena) won me over. I took a box of half a kilo to try. When I served them after dinner, we were all astounded by the taste. They are so intense and sweet. It's not so often nowadays to find such scrumptious fruit. This interested me and I googled the cherries from Vignola. I found out that they are the top prized cherries of Italy among 150 different varieties produced in this country.
Sometimes, limited ingredients work out wonders. Dinner was some breaded fish sticks and I needed a side dish to go with it. I had my last bunch of asparagus that needed to be cooked and a couple of ears of corn. Instinctively, I roasted all of them on the griddle. If you asked me a year ago on how I cook asparagus, I would say just steamed then drizzled with extra virgin oil. When I discovered how good they are roasted on the griddle, I shelved the steaming. Roasting intensifies the wonderful flavor of the spears.
The corn got roasted next. I needed something contrasting to perk up the taste and color. I was deliberating whether to use the cashew nuts that I tried once with this salad or some sweet grape tomatoes or try out something new. Cherries. There was a bowl I was draining beside my chopping board. So I grabbed a handful of ripe cherries. I pitted & chopped them, then mixed them with the salad. The vibrancy of its color gave the salad a new life. Red, yellow & green together made up a delicious looking dish. The flamboyant splashes of color were shouting summer.
My husband and I polished off the whole bowl meant for 4. Believe me, it was delicious. I will do this salad over and over again until cherry season is over.
Cherry, Asparagus & Corn Salad
- 2 ears of corn
- 800 g. asparagus, hard part taken away
- handful of cherries
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- salt & pepper
- extra virgin olive oil
- Wet stove top griddle (or a thick bottomed saucepan) with oil. Wipe off excess with a kitchen paper towel. Sprinkle fine salt all over the griddle then warm it up.
- Distribute the asparagus on the griddle. Brown them. Turn them often to avoid burning. Set aside.
- Do not turn off the fire. If the griddle dried up while cooking the asparagus, drizzle with extra virgin olive again and wipe away excess with a kitchen paper towel. It should be hot so be careful. Sprinkle fine salt all over the griddle again.
- Roast the corn cobs. Brown all sides without burning. Take away from the griddle when cooked. Let them cool down for a few minutes. Hold the corn cob vertically and slice off the kernels from all sides. Make sure you just get the kernels, not the cob. Put them in a bowl.
- Cut the asparagus to bite sizes, about 1.5 inches long. Mix with the corn kernels.
- Grab a few cherries. Pit them and chop the pulp. Mix them with the asparagus & corn kernels.
- Season with a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar (or 2 tablespoons if you want to intensify the taste more), salt & pepper. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Mix the salad well. Serve at room temperature.