Cherries have a long association with Jewish food. The type of cherry used may differ from sweet to sour, but throughout the diaspora these seasonal fruits are honored guests in pilafs, meat dishes, soups, desserts, preserves and beverages.
The cherry and cheese blintzes combine my blintz recipe with a not-too-sweet filling starring sweet cherries, with several steps able to be made ahead.
The salad pulls together a trio of summer favorites — tomatoes, nectarines and cherries — into a colorful side dish.
Makes 10 to 12
- Cherry compote (see note below), or ¾ cup cherry preserves
- 16 oz. ricotta cheese
- 1 tsp. minced lemon zest
- ⅛ tsp. almond extract
- ⅛ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
- 3 tbs. melted unsalted butter, divided
- Blintz batter (see note below)
Stir compote into cheese with zest, almond extract, salt and cinnamon.
Heat an 8-inch omelet or crepe pan over medium heat. Brush with thin coat of butter. When butter sizzles, lift pan off burner, pour in ¼ cup batter and swirl pan to evenly coat bottom. Return to heat, cooking blintz crepe for about 1 minute or until bottom is light brown or has light brown spots and the inside is not tacky. Turn out on a clean dish towel. Repeat, adding butter each time. (Use first crepe as a guide to adjust amount of batter and timing.) If making ahead, chill with waxed paper between crepes. Return to room temperature.
Place crepe brown side down. Put 2 Tbs. of filling in center, leaving a 1-inch margin all around. Fold top over filling. Fold bottom over and then fold in sides. Repeat.
Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Brush with some of the butter. Working in batches and adding butter as needed, fry seam side down until golden. Flip. Fry other side. Serve with extra filling.
Cherry compote: Place 2 cups pitted fresh or frozen dark, sweet cherries in a small pot with 2 Tbs. sugar, 2 Tbs. water and 2 Tbs. lemon juice. Bring to a simmer. Simmer, stirring often, until very thick and syrupy. Taste. Let cool. (Chill if made ahead. Bring to room temperature before using.)
Blintz batter: Using a blender, blend 1 cup milk, ½ cup water, 2 eggs, 2 Tbs. melted unsalted butter, ¼ tsp. salt and 1 tsp. minced lemon zest. Add 1 cup flour. Process again until smooth and thick, scraping down sides of blender jar as necessary.
Tomato, Nectarine and Mozzarella Salad with Balsamic Cherries
Serves 4 to 5
- 6 to 8 large dark, sweet cherries, pitted
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 medium tomatoes (each about 5 oz.)
- 2 medium-large nectarines or peaches (each about 5 to 6 oz.)
- 8 oz. mozzarella cheese ball, chilled (see notes)
- 2 to 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
- 25 small basil leaves (see notes)
- ¼ tsp. salt, or to taste
- ¼ tsp. ground black pepper, or to taste
- 2 Tbs. chopped basil
Chop cherries into ¼-inch pieces. Marinate in vinegar 30 to 60 minutes. Drain, reserving solids and liquid.
Slice tomatoes in half at their “waist.” Place halves cut side down. Cut from top to bottom into ¼-inch slices. Halve and pit nectarines (or peaches). Lay each half cut side down, and cut from top to bottom into ¼-inch slices. Slice cheese ball in half around its “waist.” Cut each half into ¼-inch slices.
Assemble by alternating slices of fruit, tomato and cheese in rows on a rimmed platter. Place basil leaves between tomato and cheese. Drizzle with oil and 2 to 3 Tbs. of reserved vinegar. Scatter cherries on top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Garnish with chopped basil.
Notes: Mozzarella cheese balls are sold in different weights. Reserve extra for another use if mozzarella ball is larger than 8 oz. If small basil leaves are not available, cut larger ones into 1-inch pieces.