What put me in the cherry mood? Perhaps it was finding a jar of cherry jam in the fridge and realizing it had never been opened. Or, it could have been the bag of dried cherries in the pantry that, too, was still sealed up tight. I vowed right then to use both, hoping to find a way to highlight the tartness of the jam and the sweetness of the dried fruit, without making the dish, how shall I say, too cherry-y.
Finding a use for the dried cherries turned out to be a breeze. I imagined an Israeli couscous with the dried fruit and toasty sliced almonds. Instead of cooking everything together, I boiled the couscous and then drained it. Meanwhile, I sautéed the dried cherries and almonds until warm and fragrant. Then I dumped in the couscous, added a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of salt, and that was that. Easy.
The cherry jam was a whole other issue. I needed something to thin it out, so I cut it with red wine vinegar, which also toned down the sweetness. The two were cooked down into a tart and satisfying glaze. For a protein, salmon seemed like a natural choice, which I decided to broil. The only question was when to add the glaze. I tried a few times to add the glaze during the cooking process, but in the end I preferred simply spooning the sauce on at the end. The crust of the broiled salmon crisps up and turns golden brown when left alone, and the sauce maintains the right consistency.
The best bites are when all of the elements are mixed together. Then you get tart, tangy, crispy, crunchy, and juicy in one go.