In July, I visited the National Cherry Festival in Traverse City, Michigan. In addition to the cherry preserves and pies I had anticipated seeing, I got to sample cherry barbecue sauce (which, incidentally, is a great choice to use in the recipe from my previous post), cherry honey, cherry mustard, and more. All of it was very tasty, but after a couple of days, I was feeling a bit cherried-out. Once home, that feeling soon passed, and I decided to make some spicy cherry salsa—another one of the intriguing items I encountered at the festival.
If you haven’t used chipotles in adobo before and especially if you are sensitive to spicy foods, I would caution you to taste a bit of the sauce before adding the full amount listed in the recipe. I tend to end up with small containers of leftover tomato sauce or green chilies that sit in my fridge for months, so the first time I cooked with chipotles in adobo, I tossed in a couple extra chilies to finish off the small can. I ended up with chicken enchiladas so spicy that my roommate walked in to find me nearly crying over my dinner.
- 4 cups sweet cherries
- 2 chipotle chilies in adobo, chopped
- 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 handful cilantro, chopped
- 1/2 red onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- Remove the pits from the cherries, using a cherry pitter. If you don’t have a cherry pitter, don’t worry! You can use a paperclip. To do this, bend the paper clip such that one end sticks out at a right angle from the rest of the clip. After removing the cherry stem, insert the end of the paperclip into the top of the cherry. Circle around the pit with the paper clip, and then you should be able to gently squeeze the pit out from the top of the cherry.
- Place half of the cherries and half of the cilantro in a blender. Add the chilies, adobo sauce, balsamic vinegar, red onion, and garlic. Blend until smooth.
- Chop the remaining cherries coarsely. Stir the chopped cherries and cilantro into the mixture from the blender. Salt and pepper as desired.
- Makes about 3 cups.