This recipe was first published on June 27, 2016
I have some big news, and it’s exciting! Starting this Sunday, this blog will also be run as a brand new column in the San Francisco Chronicle’s Sunday edition (print and digital) and will be called A Brown Kitchen! There will be tasty things to cook and eat and lots of photos accompanying each and every recipe. A Brown Table is not shutting down; it’s just the opposite; a lot more of my food will be coming your way! Never in my wildest dreams did I think that something like this would happen all through writing, cooking, and photographing my food in this food blog! As always, thank you for your support over the years! XOXO
What does one do with some 20 lbs of cherries? I think this might solve many of those problems I encounter when I buy or get greedy, picking too much fruit at farms. Provided you can get someone to pit the cherries for you (insert spouse or kids here for the said task), you do a whole lotta crazy stuff besides cooking dishes and desserts with them. You can and should also make this cherry salt.
It’s an easy recipe, fresh cherry bits with Maldon salt flakes. As my friend Jenny says, it goes great with cherry-flavored margaritas, but you can use it for seasoning food too. I considered cherry juice, but the extra texture of the fruit embedded in the salt makes things much more fun!
Note: I didn’t provide any tips this time as I normally do since there’s not much to really look out for except one thing, check the pan occasionally to avoid burning. A little browning is good for getting some complex flavors of caramelization, but beyond that, it is the easiest seasoning to prepare.Print
7 oz/200 g freshly pitted and chopped cherries (I used Bing cherries)
1 cup/288 g flaky salt such as Maldon or Halen Mon
- Day 1: Place the cherry juice and salt flakes in a medium-sized bowl. Fold to combine. Wrap the bowl with clingfilm and place it in the refrigerator overnight.
- Day 2: Transfer the mixture into an oven-safe ceramic dish (a baking dish will work). Spread the mixture with the liquid in an even layer. Place the dish in a preheated oven at 325F/165C on the lower two-thirds rack and dehydrate until all the juice dries out, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Check every 20 minutes to ensure the cherries aren’t burning and the mixture is dehydrating. The juice will evaporate, and the salt crystals will take on a cherry red color. Some of the sugars in the cherry juice will caramelize slightly but it should never be dark brown. Remove the pan from the oven and cool to room temperature on a wire rack. Once cooled, transfer to an airtight container for storage. The salt should be good for about three months if stored properly.