Valençay with Cherries and Plums
This recipe comes from Laura Werlin's book Cheese Essentials.
I have read that cherries grow in the Loire Valley, where the ash-covered goat cheese Valençay is made, so I made the assumption that cherries and the local cheese would probably go well together. It turns out they do. But rather than creating something sweet with the cherries, I decided to give them a savory slant instead. The result is a salad course with sweet, tangy, and earthy flavors all in one bite. Don't worry if you can't find Valençay; other goat cheeses work just as well.
½ pound fresh Bing cherries, pitted
and cut in quarters (or use a
combination of cherries that are
in season in your area)
In a medium-size bowl, mix together all of the ingredients except the cheese. Let sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Alternatively, you can refrigerate the mixture for up to 6 hours, but do not add the basil until you're ready to serve.
To cut the cheese: If using Valençay, cut the cheese horizontally two-thirds of the way down. Cut both pieces into quarters by criss-crossing to make a total of 8 triangular pieces. If using a different cheese, cut into 8 equal pieces.
To serve, distribute the cherry mixture on 8 small plates. Lay a piece of cheese next to the mixture and serve.