Fresh Cherry Relish and Goat Cheese Crostini

It’s been a sticky, hot Memorial Day weekend.  Summer officially arrives on the 20th of June but it already feels as though it’s here.   Warmer weather equals relaxed cooking – less time in the kitchen (hopefully) and more time devoted to being outdoors.  This appetizer is super easy to throw together and the flavors will have you enjoying a second or even third slice.

Bags of fresh cherries are already popping up on grocery shelves and display boxes.  We started getting cherries from California a few weeks ago although cherries from the Tri-State area won’t be out until closer to July.  Cherries are packed with antioxidants which help aid in the reduction of heart disease and cancer.  They also contain melatonin (helps regulate heart rhythms and the body’s sleep cycles).  Cherries are rich in vitamin C, potassium, folate, fiber, as well as helping to reduce pain and joint soreness for runners and athletes after workouts.  Is it any wonder cherries are a powerhouse fruit!

Jícama (HEE-kah-mah) is a large, bulbous root vegetable has a thin light brown skin and white crunchy flesh. Its sweet, nutty flavor is good both raw and cooked.  When cooked, jícama retains its crisp, water chestnut-type texture. Jícama is a good source of vitamin C, fiber, and potassium. 

Serves 6
adapted from Fine Cooking

1 cup fresh sweet cherries, pitted and finely chopped
1/2 cup finely diced jícama
1 medium scallion (white and green parts), very thinly sliced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint
1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
pinch of cayenne; more to taste
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup soft fresh goat cheese
1/3 cup ricotta cheese
eighteen 1/2-inch-thick baguette slices, toasted

In a medium bowl, combine the cherries, jícama, scallion, mint, vinegar, and cayenne. Season to taste with salt, black pepper, and more cayenne. In a small bowl, mix the goat and ricotta cheeses with a pinch each of salt and black pepper. Lightly spread the cheese over each baguette toast and top with the cherry relish.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:  Cherry and jícama go surprisingly well together.  Fine Cooking suggests this relish is good over grilled chicken breasts, as a salsa or tossed into couscous.   Enjoy!

1 Comment

  1. Emily (NewYork) on May 30, 2012 at 15:31

    I never knew all the nutritional benefits of cherries! Wow – thanks for sharing, looks like I should go pick up some cherries! This crostini looks soo yummy too. I am a sucker for anything cheesy.