We were thrilled to see the play that the video of Sally making herb salt on Splendid Table got, including a big fat mention on Apartment Therapy’s The Kitchen. From that post we discovered that a year ago during cherry season, they’d riffed on Sally’s improvised cherry vinegar from The Improvisational Cookand did a lovely photo of the process. Since this year’s long cherry season is winding down, we thought we’d pass Sally’s original recipe along. You’ll find the ever-great Warm Fresh Cherries with Stems here. Both are perfect easy weekend projects.
Recipe: Cherry-Aged Cherry Vinegar
Since vinegars are essentially alive, age affects them, even in the bottle, a lesson I learned when I tasted a cherry vinegar I’d made years before. I’d plunked smashed ripe cherries into a not-so-terrific red wine vinegar. I figured leaving in the pits and stems might give the vinegar lovely subtle flavor cherry wood, as though it had been aged in a cherry wood barrel. Young, the vinegar wasn’t balanced enough to love, I suspect due to the edginess of the base vinegar. I came across the forgotten bottle a couple of years later and discovered a fabulously complex, mellow red wine vinegar that tasted as if it had been aged in cherry wood.
I now use the same method but with balsamic vinegar which eliminates the need for long aging. Put about 2 cups smashed ripe cherries (you can just tap them with a pestle, meat pounder or even a door knob) and their stems in a large jar; cover with balsamic vinegar by several inches. Because cherries have a much more subtle flavor than raspberries or strawberries, and you want to draw out the woody flavor of the pits, steep the cracked cherries in the vinegar for several days or more. Strain and decant the vinegar into a clean, dry bottle.
Related posts: how to serve fresh cherries
warm fresh cherries with leaves
3 crazy-simple summer desserts from ‘a new way to cook’ (and a reminder to enter our giveaway)
recipe: strawberries in beaujolais sauce
brown sugar butter cookie dough tarts with summer fruit (recipe)
sally talks cherries on splendid table