Cherry season is over. It is a sad time for me because that is one of the things I look forward to the most during summer. Plump, bountiful and finally reasonably priced I stock up, pit and freeze as many as I can afford get my hands on every season. This is what I decided to do with the last of this year’s bounty.
Deep, dark Bing cherries are my absolute favorite and Rainier cherries take a very close (almost tied) second place. They have their own unique qualities that I love so I decided it was time to make something unique utilizing these two bite sized drops of deliciousness.
Bing cherries are acidic, making them the perfect component for a salsa. I wanted the salsa to have a nice balance and Rainier cherries are the perfect way to add the sweetness. I also added finely diced red onion, jalapeño and cilantro to bring some heat and savory flavors to the party.
I pitted and halved the cherries. I then chopped half of them a little more so there was some varying sized pieces and texture. I mixed everything, added a pinch of salt and let it sit at room temperature until I served it a few hours later.
Then there is the matter of the pork chop. You cannot just eat this delicious cherry salsa with some chips and call it a day. No, it is unacceptable. You may however, find some amazing thick cut pork chops and season them beautifully, cook them to perfection, serve this cherry salsa on top and proceed to have that for dinner without a vegetable or a salad or anything else. That may or may not have happened…
For the pork chops I made a simple spice mix, rubbed it on the chops and then let them sit in the fridge for a couple hours. The spice is a mixture of coarse kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder, paprika and cumin. You want to take the pork chops out of the fridge 30 minutes prior to making them so they can come to room temperature.
When you are ready to cook the chops, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place a skillet over medium-high heat. Brush a small amount of canola oil on one side of the chop and place oil-side down in pan. After 2-3 minutes check to see if it is browned, flip and immediately transfer into oven and cook to desired doneness. I prefer pork almost completely cooked and it took about 15 minutes to reach 145 degrees. Move pork to a cutting board and let it rest 10 minutes.
Top with cherry salsa and serve – with or without vegetables.
1 cup fresh Bing cherries
1 cup fresh Ranier cherries
½ medium red onion, finely diced
1-2 jalapenos, finely diced (remove the seeds and ribs if you like it less spicy)
¼ cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 tsp salt
Spiced Pork Chops:
2-4 extra thick, center cut pork chops
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp kosher salt
½ – 1 tsp ground black pepper
-Pit cherries and halve
-Coarsely chop half of the cherries
-Mix in remaining ingredients
-Let sit at room temperature, stirring occasionally until ready to serve
-Store long-term in refrigerator and let come to room temperature before serving
Spiced Pork Chops:
-Mix all spices together to combine
-Pat pork chops dry with paper towel
-Rub seasoning mixture on all side of pork chops
-Cover and refrigerate at least two hours (or overnight)
-Remove from fridge 30 minutes prior to cooking
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees
-Heat oven safe skillet over medium high heat
-Brush one side of chops with oil and place oil side down in pan
-Wait 2-3 minutes until browned on one side and flip
-Immediately transfer skillet to oven and cook 10-20 minutes or until internal temperature reaches –145 degrees
-Transfer chops to cutting board and let rest at least 10 minutes before serving