CSA Week 11: Cherry + Jalapeño Relish
Week 11 of our CSA included the cutest little jalapeño peppers and a head of garlic. I can’t handle super spicy dishes, so I’ve been adding a little bit of jalapeño here and there. I had some beautiful pork tenderloin chops from Riverview Farms, so I added some garlic and jalapeños to a brine (which is a salt water solution/marinade that helps tenderize meat). Click here to read more about how and why to brine meat. I didn’t want to waste the remainder of the pepper I used for the brine, so I racked my brain, scanned my fridge, searched google, and voila! Cherry and jalapeño relish to top the pork was the answer. Unfortunately cherries don’t grow around these parts, but they are in season and readily available (and just too good to resist!). This relish would be great on fish, chicken, pork, turkey, or anything else you put on the grill this summer. This recipe is adapted from Bon Appétit and makes enough for 2-3 servings.
1/4 lb fresh cherries (15-20)
1-2 sprigs mint (spearmint)
1-2 sprigs cilantro
1 small fresh jalapeño
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice (1/4 – 1/2 lime)
salt + pepper
Mix it up:
Rinse and pit cherries (see notes below for tips). Cut in half or quarters.
Finely chop mint and cilantro leaves.
Mince jalapeño pepper. Use 1 tsp for mild to moderate heat (remove seeds for less heat). I recommend wearing gloves to cut pepper and avoid touching your eyes!
Mix together cherries, mint, jalapeño, and 1 Tbsp lime juice. Toss to coat and let sit for at least 10-15 minutes to let flavors come together. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Optional: gently warm relish in a pan over medium low heat or place on the grill in a fire-safe bowl to warm.
If you’re using a fresh lime, you can always use the remainder of the lime juice in a marinade for meat. You can also add some of the lime zest to the relish for an extra kick.
Beware! Cherries can stain your stuff–hands, cutting boards, clothes–so take the necessary precautions, like wearing gloves or not wearing your favorite shirt.
There are a ton of different ways to pit a cherry. Try setting a cherry on an empty beer or soda bottle (with an opening small enough so the cherry doesn’t fall in) and use a sturdy straw or chopstick to poke the pit out and into the bottle. I’ve also read that the small end of a metal icing tip or an unfolded paper clip. You can always buy a cherry pitter or look up videos on Youtube!
Try strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, or blueberries instead of or in addition to cherries.
Pickled jalapeño works in a pinch!
Dried cherries could work, but you might want to add additional lime juice and let the relish soak longer so the cherries will rehydrate.