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Husk Cherry and Goat Cheese Salad

It’s not often that I come across a fruit or vegetable that I’ve never tried, or even heard of, before. In fact, I think the last time it happened was when I discovered that morels were mushrooms, which was at least two years ago. But I had eaten mushrooms before. These, on the other hand, were pretty much completely new.

I noticed a bin labeled “husk cherries” at the Union Square Greenmarket yesterday, and of course, I had to try them. The seller recommended using them raw in a salad or dipping them in chocolate. Since I was already buying lettuce and herbed goat cheese, I went the salad route.

They don’t taste like cherries, or really like anything I’ve eaten before. The insides are full of tiny seeds, kind of like a cross between a strawberry and a tomato. To me, they taste a little bit sweet, and very, very wild, like something you would find growing on a vine somewhere, and hope that they didn’t poison you. I’m surprised they haven’t popped up in innovative New York restaurants yet, but maybe I’m ahead of the curve?

Here’s what the finished salad looks like:

Husk Cherry and Goat Cheese Salad

1 pound field greens, washed
1/2 pound husk cherries (substitute green grapes for a somewhat similar flavor)
4 ounces herbed goat cheese (I used basil and garlic goat cheese, also from the farmer’s market)
1 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp basalmic vinegar
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp coarse sea salt (I used pink sea salt)
Pinch of black pepper

1. Wash lettuce, remove cherries from their husks, and wash. Dry.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together mustard, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.
3. Mix together lettuce, husk cherries, and dressing. Divide onto four plates.
4. Thinly slice goat cheese, and distribute slices onto plates (3-4 slices per plate). Serve.

Serves 4.