Cherry Salsa

The prettiest cherries I’ve ever seen was on a drizzly day in Trier, Germany. Coincidentally, the white asparagus was at its peak as well! This is a photo from 2006, while walking through a square on our way to lunch, where I failed miserably attempting to speak German and read the menu!

Later on this trip, we visited the Schwarzwald, or the Black Forest region of Germany, known for Schwarzwald Torte, or Black Forest cake. At the Black Forest open-air museum we ran in to these ladies wearing their bollenhut.

The tradition is that the hats/bonnets with the giant cherry-red woolen bobbles must be worn while ladies are single. After the point they are married, they get to switch to a black version. I think I would have just moved to a different part of Germany.

Recently I was lucky enough to pick cherries from a friend’s trees. As I mentioned when I posted on the baked goat brie topped with roasted cherries, I wanted to create recipes for these fabulous fresh cherries that went beyond the basic cherry pie. That’s when I decided on cherry salsa.

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Now I know that I’m the first to gripe when terms are loosely used in the culinary world – words like confit, coulis, pesto, and yes, salsa. But it’s the only word I could think of to describe this lovely seasonal condiment.

It not cooked like a chutney, and it’s not a sauce. It is similar to the fresh tomato salsa I make in the summer, which really is a salsa, and also the cranberry salsa I make for the holidays. I used fresh cherries,orange, cilantro, shallots and ginger. It has zing, a freshness, some tartness and sweetness.

Use it with any kind of meat and poultry, just like you would a chutney or cranberry sauce. Here’s what I did.

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Fresh Cherry Salsa

1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
1 shallot, minced
1 slice of ginger, approximately 1″ in diameter x 1/4″ thick, minced
Zest of 1 small orange
Juice of 1/2 orange
1 teaspoon roasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon agave, if cherries are tart
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of ground cayenne
2 cups cherries, halved if they’re large

Combine the cilantro, shallot, ginger, and zest in a bowl. Add the liquids, the salt and cayenne.

Then add the cherries and stir gently to combine. Let sit for at least 30 minutes.

I love using sesame seed oil, and I thought it would enhance the shallot, ginger, orange and cayenne.

Serve at room temperature.

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I served the cherry salsa with a simple roast chicken and butternut squash.

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The flavors are spectacular.

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By Published On: July 5th, 201670 Comments

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!

70 Comments

  1. Travel Gourmet July 5, 2016 at 7:13 AM - Reply

    Lovely post Mimi! The photos and story from Germany are great. Those hats! Your idea for making salsa from the cherries is brilliant and I think it’s fine to use the ‘salsa’ term. I make a fresh mango salsa to go with griddled tuna.

    • chef mimi July 5, 2016 at 8:39 AM - Reply

      Oh, that sounds really lovely! It’s fun to make different kinds of salsa!

  2. ggstratton July 5, 2016 at 7:43 AM - Reply

    Those cherries look fantastic as does the salsa. I could pretty much guarantee that I would’ve had a stomachache because I don’t know when to stop eating them 😊🍒

    • chef mimi July 5, 2016 at 8:40 AM - Reply

      I love them too. And grapes! It’s hard to know when to quit!

  3. Nadia July 5, 2016 at 7:48 AM - Reply

    What an innovative use of cherries. I would never of thought of using them not as a dessert.

    • chef mimi July 5, 2016 at 8:41 AM - Reply

      Thank you! I wanted to use them in a raw state, and am pretty happy with the result!

  4. cookinginsens July 5, 2016 at 7:53 AM - Reply

    Nice salsa.

  5. Julie is Hostess At Heart July 5, 2016 at 7:53 AM - Reply

    Wow how beautiful! I just love those beautiful cherries with the roasted chicken.

    • chef mimi July 5, 2016 at 8:41 AM - Reply

      Thank you. I was pretty proud of the results!

  6. Kiki July 5, 2016 at 8:02 AM - Reply

    Oh, you were so close to where I live! Totally agree with you – I would move to another area if I had to wear a hat declaring my relationship status…
    I love your picture with the cherries in the bowl by the window – gorgeous shot!

    • chef mimi July 5, 2016 at 8:42 AM - Reply

      Then you live in a beautiful part of Germany. Although I thought every part we went to was beautiful as well. Can you imagine having to wear those hats?!!!

  7. karalynholland July 5, 2016 at 10:06 AM - Reply

    Love this!!! That cherry salsa looks delicious :)

  8. Gerlinde de Broekert July 5, 2016 at 10:18 AM - Reply

    Mimi, I just drove by the Black Forest today on my way to the airport in Frankfurt. The Black Forest is becoming quit a culinary destination , many new chefs are trying regional cuisine.
    As to the cherry salsa, that’s brilliant. I love cherry sauce so why not cherry salsa. Thanks and have a great week,

    • chef mimi July 5, 2016 at 10:57 AM - Reply

      Oh my goodness that must have been exhilarating! Such beautiful forests. When we went to Germany we landed in Frankfurt then stayed in St. Goar. A lovely start to a magnificent trip!

  9. Gerlinde de Broekert July 5, 2016 at 10:19 AM - Reply

    Oops I mean quite a destination

  10. Tasty Eats Ronit Penso July 5, 2016 at 10:26 AM - Reply

    Fruit salsas are so great. Love the idea of using cherries, and the addition of ginger. The whole dish looks so very tasty and colorful! :)

  11. StefanGourmet July 5, 2016 at 10:43 AM - Reply

    Those hats are ridiculous. I can see why you’d rather move!
    I like your idea to use cherries, although I’d replace the cilantro with something else. When you leave the cherries whole like that, to me it’s perhaps more a cherry salad than salsa (in which I would expect chopped or minced cherries).

    • chef mimi July 5, 2016 at 11:00 AM - Reply

      I wouldn’t have done well 100 years ago anywhere! I know you don’t love cilantro but I was kind of playing with the Asian theme. Parsley would be good, too. Salad, salsa. I don’t know. Cucumber and tomato salad, used as a condiment, is chopped. All of these terms are loosely used, so I think it’s more about the ingredients. And these cherries were small.

  12. Our Growing Paynes July 5, 2016 at 10:54 AM - Reply

    Those bonnets are, um, interesting. The recipe however really is interesting. 😊

    • chef mimi July 5, 2016 at 11:01 AM - Reply

      No disrespect to Germans in that part of Germany but yikes! My mother is from Lorraine, France, near Alsace, and I thought those traditional outfits were a bit extreme!

      • Our Growing Paynes July 5, 2016 at 11:06 AM

        I’m not sure, if you hope to marry off your daughter, putting bright red bobbles on her head is the way to go. 😄

  13. Melody Procter July 5, 2016 at 1:12 PM - Reply

    Oh how yummy!! I never in a million years would have thought about a cherry salsa but this sounds WONDERFUL!! I love cherries and this will have to go on the to make soon list. Oh and I totally agree about those poor women in the cherry hats… I would have moved to another part of Germany too!!

    • chef mimi July 5, 2016 at 4:51 PM - Reply

      I probably would have been ostracized because I would have been stubborn enough to refuse to wear the hat!

  14. Alex July 5, 2016 at 1:20 PM - Reply

    I concocted a Middle Eastern variant of a cherry sauce the other week. That was pretty good, but didn’t have the brightness of fresh cherries.
    I love the look and description of your salsa. Will try to make it while cherries are still in season.
    Greetings from Pforzheim, Germany, the northern gate to the Black Forest.
    Best wishes, Alex

    • chef mimi July 5, 2016 at 4:50 PM - Reply

      Oh I am so jealous! It’s such a beautiful area!

  15. elliebleu July 5, 2016 at 1:28 PM - Reply

    What a creative idea making cherry salsa! I bet it would also taste delicious on bruschetta.

  16. eliotthecat July 5, 2016 at 4:54 PM - Reply

    Whatever you are calling it, it looks delicious…so summery!

  17. Cynthia McCloud Woodman July 5, 2016 at 6:01 PM - Reply

    that salsa sounds delicious! I’m a cherry fiend!

  18. Michelle July 5, 2016 at 7:41 PM - Reply

    Oh how we loved the markets in that area of Germany, especially the Freiburg one. Despite (like you) totally mangling the German language. Too many letters in every word. ;) Lovely cherries!

    • chef mimi July 5, 2016 at 9:29 PM - Reply

      I practiced for hours to say ” I need to buy four tickets to st. goar.” the guy spoke in English back to me, of course. I totally blew it!

      • Michelle July 5, 2016 at 9:32 PM

        So funny! I started earlier to tell you that Steve practiced for a similar time to say: “Please grind this coffee for paper cone filter.” And the guy was like, “What?? Oh, you want it ground for paper cone filter” — of course in perfect English.

      • chef mimi July 6, 2016 at 7:11 AM

        yeah, that’s so annoying. Oh well, maybe if we had been taught four languages growing up, or six, like in my mother’s case!

  19. chefceaser July 6, 2016 at 1:43 AM - Reply

    Reblogged this on Chef Ceaser.

  20. Linda Duffin July 6, 2016 at 5:34 AM - Reply

    The salsa looks delicious. I have a theory that the hats were to scare off men from other regions so they could keep the gene pool nice and small. Oops, was that too mean?

  21. cookingwithauntjuju.com July 6, 2016 at 8:55 AM - Reply

    The whole meal is perfect – nice pictures too!

    • chef mimi July 6, 2016 at 11:13 AM - Reply

      Thank you! The cherries photographed so beautifully

  22. kitchenriffs July 6, 2016 at 9:16 AM - Reply

    I love fruit salsas! And cherries work particularly well. Haven’t made a cherry salsa for ages, but I happen to have some cherries in the house. Hmmm . . . :-) Fun read, great pictures — thanks.

  23. The Gourmet Gourmand July 6, 2016 at 10:16 AM - Reply

    What a beautiful meal, Mimi! I adore fresh cherries and love the idea of making a salsa with them :) Perfect ingredients!

  24. hotlyspiced July 6, 2016 at 4:34 PM - Reply

    Just lost my comment! It wouldn’t post unless I logged in or something. Great that you now have the .com – I can click on your link and now come straight across to your blog. Loved this post with its interesting story. How fortunate to be able to pick your own cherries – that is something I’ve never done. I must try to find some white asparagus when it’s next in season – it’s quite difficult to source xx

    • chef mimi July 6, 2016 at 5:02 PM - Reply

      I’ve only seen white asparagus in Germany and France!

  25. Sarah 'n Spice July 7, 2016 at 11:44 AM - Reply

    Love the pictures! Cherries are a favorite of mine in the summer and your cherry salsa looks amazing. Can’t wait to give it a try!

  26. Greg Henry (@sippitysup) July 7, 2016 at 1:33 PM - Reply

    Those hats are hilarious and the salsa is spectacular. I’ve been berry picking but cherries picking sound even more fun. GREG

    • chef mimi July 7, 2016 at 2:59 PM - Reply

      Except for the fact that you have to be on a ladder, yes, it was fun!

  27. David Scott Allen July 8, 2016 at 10:33 PM - Reply

    What a wonderful idea for a “salsa!” Thanks, Mimi!

  28. onceuponarecipe July 9, 2016 at 12:04 PM - Reply

    Looks delicious, Mimi! And so summery too!

  29. Frank Fariello July 10, 2016 at 7:02 AM - Reply

    I *love* cherries, but not enough to wear a cherry bonnet, no matter what color it might be. ;-) Think I’ll stick to eating them…

  30. ChgoJohn July 10, 2016 at 11:14 PM - Reply

    What a creative idea for salsa, Mimi. It sure did brighten up your chicken entree, as it would just about anything it could be served alongside.

  31. healthyindiankitchen July 23, 2016 at 1:34 AM - Reply

    This looks so pretty <3

  32. Walter Uriel Tibamosa Valdivieso September 1, 2016 at 5:33 PM - Reply

    Me Gusta Blog.

  33. donotannoythewriter September 22, 2016 at 12:13 PM - Reply

    What a wonderful post, and such a delicious recipe! It seems quite fitting that I should stumble across your post for a cherry recipe, as I’ve just started a new business and blog selling handmade and luxury food from Belgium, and the first product I’ve talked about is cherries! thecraftybelgian.wordpress.com

    • chef mimi September 22, 2016 at 6:43 PM - Reply

      I was very happy with my cherry creation! Good luck with your business!

      • donotannoythewriter September 23, 2016 at 1:36 AM

        Thank you so much! I’ve followed your blog, so I’ll be reading through some more of your creations soon!

  34. Healthy World Cuisine May 30, 2017 at 5:06 PM - Reply

    This is the fun post! Love your cherry salsa and the addition of the orange, sesame oil and cayenne is brilliant! Your photos are just beautiful. Just pinned!

    • chef mimi May 30, 2017 at 5:50 PM - Reply

      Thanks, Bobbi! Don’t you love those hats?!!

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