With chanterelle mushroom season coming to a close, I wanted to use this wonderful mushroom one last time before it shrinks back into the earth and disappears for another year. Sour cherries recently have come to ripeness and apples always complement mushrooms beautifully so my warm salad idea had a fixed structure very quickly.
I also like to add a salty element through a cheese or cured meat of some kind instead of just salt itself. I don’t like to simply add salt. Salt on its own is rather one dimensional even if you’re using some rare salt from the top of some oddball mountain on the other side of the world. The complexity of artisanal cheese or a flavourful bacon adds more dimension than any single salt could. The little bit that I use in this recipe is certainly used like a seasoning rather than a main ingredient, but its impact is evident with each bite as you enjoy it…and speaking of which, enjoy!
Warm Sour Cherry and Apple Salad with Bacon and Feta
2 slices bacon, cut into thin strips
225g chanterelle mushrooms, or other mushrooms, coarsely chopped
2 tsp butter
1/2 cup sour cherries, halved and pitted
1/2 cup chopped leeks (white part only with a small amount of the light green part)
1 medium apple, cored, cut into thin strips
1 Tbsp feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
In a large nonstick pan, fry the bacon strips until crisp. Remove the crispy bacon from the pan and drain on paper towels. Pour out all but 1 Tbsp rendered bacon fat. Sauté the mushrooms over medium high heat until golden on all sides, add the butter and leeks and sauté for 2-3 minutes to soften the leeks. Add the sour cherries and toss while sautéing over medium high heat to slightly soften the cherries. Add the apple strips and toss over the heat, but the pan not quite on the heat, allowing the residual heat to slightly soften the apple.
To serve, divide the warm salad between two bowls and sprinkle the top of each with reserved crispy bacon and feta cheese. Finish with ground black pepper. Serves 2.