Cherry, Asparagus & Corn Salad

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

Serves 4
  • 800 grams asparagus, hard part taken away
  • 2 ears of corn
  • 1/2 cup cherries
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • salt 
  • pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil
  1. Wet the griddle (or a thick bottomed saucepan) with very little oil then wipe off the excess with a kitchen paper towel.  Sprinkle some salt all over the griddle then warm it up over medium heat.
  2. Distribute the asparagus on the griddle.  Brown them, turning often to avoid burning.  Chop them coarsely and transfer them to a big bowl.
  3. On medium heat, on the same griddle, toast the corn cobs next.  Brown all sides without burning. 
  4. Hold the corn cob vertically and slice off the kernels from all sides. Add them to the bowl with the asparagus.
  5. Pit and coarsely chop the cherries. Mix them in the bowl of the asparagus and corn.
  6. Season the salad with the balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, salt & pepper. 

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