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Handpicked Chef Series

Elite chefs in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Montana spent a day in the kitchen with us showcasing their favorite recipes made with sweet Northwest-grown cherries.

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Handpicked Chef Series - Salt Lake City

Recipes developed by Chef Eric DeBonis of The Paris Bistro

Northwest Sweet Cherries, Wild Arugula & Lamb's Quarter Spinach with Roasted Pistachio Vinaigrette.
4 persons

16 cherries, pitted and halved
4 cups wild arugula
2 cups lambs quarter spinach
1/2 cup shelled pistachios
6 tbsp grape seed oil
2 tbsp pistachio oil
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
Fine sea salt, pepper to taste

1. Pit and half the cherries, reserve in a bowl.
2. Make the vinaigrette: in a bowl, whisk together the grape seed oil, the sherry vinegar, the pistachio oil. Add sea salt and pepper to taste.
3. Pour the vinaigrette over the cherries, let them marinate for a few minutes so that the vinaigrette and the cherry juices mix together. Remove the cherries, set aside in a bowl again.
4. Roast the shelled pistachios in a pre-heated 450° F oven. Let them cool and process them in a food processor as to obtain a coarsely ground texture.
5. In a large bowl, toss together the spinach and the arugula and the vinaigrette. Arrange the greens on 4 chilled plates. Put 8 half cherries over the greens with a spoon as well as a little bit of the juice that dripped from the cherries in the bowl. Sprinkle ground pistachios over the salad and serve promptly.

Pan Seared Duck Breast with Northwest Sweet Cherry Gastrique
4 persons

Ingredients - Gastrique
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 cup reduced duck stock (alternatively veal stock can be used) For the cherry compote
1 cup red wine
8-12 cherries, pitted
1/4 cup sugar

Ingredients - Duck Breast
4 each 6-7oz duck breasts
Sea salt, pepper

1. Make the cherry compote: In a non-reactive sauce pan (Stainless steel), combine the pitted cherries, the red wine and the sugar. Bring to a boil, turn the heat down so that the mixture comes to a slow, rolling boil. Reduce until half the liquid has evaporated and it has a syrupy consistency. Take the pan off the heat, set aside for later
2. Make the gastrique: In a non-reactive sauce pan (Stainless steel) put 1/2 cup of sugar. Put the sauce pan over medium high heat and watch as the sugar starts to caramelize on the sides. As soon as this occurs, stir the sugar with a wooden spoon as to ensure the melted sugar stays smooth and not lumpy. When a nice dark golden color is obtained, slowly pour the rice vinegar over the caramel while stirring constantly. Be extremely careful as the caramel will boil very strongly and cause burns. as soon as the mixture is homogeneous again, boil slowly for a minute or two. Add the duck stock, then the cherry compote to the mixture and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and let the sauce reduce by 1/3 to 1/2. When the sauce reaches a syrupy consistency, taste it and add sea salt to taste.
3. Pan-sear the duck breast: sprinkle sea salt and fresh ground pepper over both sides of the duck breast. Heat a sauté pan over medium high heat and place the duck breasts with its skin side down.
When a nice dark, golden brown color is obtained, turn the breasts over on the meat side for 2-3 minutes. Turn again on the skin side and place the pan in a 400°f oven until desired doneness is achieved, 2-3 minutes for medium rare, 5 minutes for medium. Remove from pan and let the meat rest for 10 minutes.
4. Plate the duck breasts: quickly reheat the sauce until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat. Slice the duck breast in a bias (at an oblique angle) and fan it over a warm plate, skin side up. Spoon sauce over the duck breast ensuring that each breast gets a few cherries.
Serve with potato gratin or mashed potatoes.

Aquavite Preserved Cherries

Northwest sweet cherries
2/3 cup sugar
Grape distillate or grappa
1 each 1 qt wide mouth Mason Jar

1. Wash the cherries under cold, running water. Ensure there are no bruised cherries. Trim the stems with scissors, leaving a 1/3 inch stem attached to the fruit. Gently place cherries in the Mason jar until the fruit comes to about 2/3 in from the top. Add sugar and fill up with alcohol. Close tightly with a new, clean lid and band and place in a dark, room temperature cupboard or in wine cellar (not in refrigerator). Wait 9 months to a year.
2. Spoon fruit over vanilla ice cream/gelato. Add a little bit of the alcohol and serve promptly.

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