Friday, June 20, 2008


So, it is the time again for tie-dye splatters on our shirts as well as pits scattering across the floor the first of the season’s stone fruit adorn my kitchen counter. Cherries have quietly appeared in the market here in the northeast, and I must say I happy to see them a couple weeks earlier than usual. A chilled, ripe cherry is as satisfying today as a jawbreaker was to the prepubescent lad who would drop his precious quarter in the slot of the candy machine. Cherries freeze fantastically given its thick outer skin. If buying a red Bing look for a dark sanguine cherry with a smooth skin; the Queen Anne and Rainer varieties should be firm and smooth skinned. These yellow to blushing latter cherries have a natural lower acidity making them seem even sweeter.

I did finally spring for a cherry pitter; it is easier then cutting them in half, which doubles as an olive pitter in the off-season. Though I have decided it is best to pit the cherry into a tall glass allowing the seed to fall to the bottom and avoiding the resulting splat of cherry juice everywhere.

They are the easiest of bowlful of pleasure but their usage does not stop there.

Whole Black Sea Bass with Cherries – yields 6 servings
2 three-pound whole black sea bass – scales removed
1-teaspoon coarse salt (such as kosher or sea)
1/2-teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 scallions – green tops only; cut 1/12 inch pieces
2-tablespoons tarragon leaves – roughly chopped
1/2-pound cherries - pitted

Pre heat the oven to 475 degrees.

Wash the sea bass quickly under very cold water, and pat dry. Make three cuts, on the diagonal, through the flesh of the fish on each side. Sprinkle the fish with the salt and pepper. Place the fish on a parchment lined baking tray, and fill the cavity of the fish with the scallions, tarragon and cherries having the filling spill out of the fish. Cook in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Serve immediately.

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