Charred Cherry Salsa
This unusual salsa, based on cherries, knocks it out of the park in the category of unexpected, amazing taste combo. Think of it as a sultry summer version of cranberry sauce. Its taste has wonderful charred, smoky and fruity notes to it while still being tart and savoury. It is a great way to celebrate cherry season each year -- or enjoy it as a special treat when cherries are out of season where you live. It makes a great side relish for meats such as pork or lamb, even chicken, or stronger-tasting fish such as mackerel, sardines, salmon, etc. Makes 500 ml / 2 cups.
- Wash cherries, remove stems. Place on a grilling rack (ideally over sink) and spray lightly with cooking spray.
- Put on grill over medium heat and cook until they start to char, turning occasionally -- about 10 minutes.
- Let the cherries cool till they are comfortable to handle, then pit them. It's okay if they get torn up a fair bit during the pitting process -- you actually want this. Mix in all the other ingredients, and set aside to marinate for a few hours. Optional: a few drops of liquid smoke, probably no more than 1/8th teaspoon.
- Best made a day ahead. Serve room temperature.
3 cups fresh cherries, unpitted -- aim for 500 g / 1 pound of fresh unpitted cherries. Not that extreme precision matters, but we used a red onion that was about 8 cm (3 inches) wide and weighed about 300 g / 10 oz.) Use a good quality apple cider vinegar, if possible. If the people eating this are cilantro fans, you can double the quantity of cilantro.
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