We don’t think that cherry recipes on Presidents Day or Washington’s Birthday (February 22nd) are clichéd. We think they’re a great opportunity to enjoy dried cherries.
The question isn’t what you can do with dried cherries; but rather, what you can’t. They’re so versatile!
Some of our favorite uses for dried cherries:
Breakfast: On cereal or yogurt, in pancake batter, in omelets.
Lunch: In green salads and protein salads (chicken, tuna, etc.).
Cocktails: Garnish away!
Cheese Board: Accent with dried cherries and other dried fruits.
Dinner: Great with duck, fish, pork and veal in sauces, salsas, or a simple garnish; in stuffings.
Dessert garnish: For cakes, fruit salads, puddings, ice cream and sorbet.
Baked Goods: biscotti, chocolate chip cookies, muffins.
Snacks: from the bag, in trail mix, with mixed nuts.
RECIPE: GOAT CHEESE SALAD WITH DRIED CHERRIES, CANDIED WALNUTS & CHERRY BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE
This recipe came to us from Melanie Flinn, MS, RD, for ChooseCherries.com, the consumer website of the Cherry Marketing Institute. There you’ll find recipes for every form of cherries, including fresh, dried, juice.
You can make the candied walnuts and dressing ahead of time, so that when you’re ready to eat there is little prep involved.
The dressing is a keeper, by the way. You can add cherry juice to a vinaigrette or creamy dressing for a flavor lilt.
If you don’t like goat cheese, substitute butterkäse, halloumi or queso blanco for a crusted cheese, or simply add chunks of blue cheese or feta.
Ingredients For 4 Servings
8 cups mixed greens, mesclun or other (we like a mix ofgreen and red leaf lettuce, arugula and baby spinach)
1/2 cup dried tart cherries
1/2 cup candied walnuts (directions below)
4 crumb-crusted goat cheese medallions (directions below)
Cherry Balsamic Vinaigrette to taste (directions below)
1 cup walnut halves
1/4 heaping cup loose brown sugar
For The Walnuts
4 one-ounce slices from goat cheese log
3 tablespoons breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
1 egg, lightly beaten
3-4 teaspoons olive oil
For The Goat Cheese Medallions
1/2 cup cherry juice (for an intense flavor, reduced 3/4 cup to 1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove minced
1 scant tablespoon honey
1/4 cup olive oil
Pinch of salt and pepper
For The Cherry Balsamic Vinaigrette
1. MAKE the dressing. Place 1/2 cup cherry juice in a small saucepan over medium heat. Simmer until reduced to 1/4 cup.
Meanwhile, place the minced garlic in a medium bowl and add reduced cherry juice. Whisk in the vinegar and honey. Slowly whisk in oil drop by drop until well combined. Season with a salt and pepper.
2. MAKE the candied walnuts. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.
In a medium nonstick skillet heated to medium heat, add walnuts and sugar and stir constantly until sugar has melted and coated the walnuts, no more than 5 minutes. Turn onto the prepared baking sheet and spread out to prevent clumping. Once dry, store in an airtight container.
3. MAKE the goat cheese medallions. The best way to slice neat pieces from the log is to freeze it for about 5 minutes before slicing.
 Featured recipe: goat cheese salad and  cherry vinaigrette for the salad (photos courtesy Choose Cherries).  Salmon with cherry sauce.  Veal chop with cherry sauce.  Cereal with a sprinkle of cherries (photos courtesy Choose Cherries).