Newsflash: it's cherry season in San Francisco. Local chef Robert Leva says they've been getting progressively better each week. He gets his at the Marin Farmer's Market, then uses their natural sugary-sour hit to play with the rich meaty flavors in a Liberty duck dish now on the menu at Salt House. Pretty to look at, sweet but not overly so, cherries work equally well in desserts and savory dishes. So don't be surprised if you see them popping up all over the place right now. Here's how some other local pros are cooking them.
Chef David Bazirgan uses freshly sliced, raw Hamada Farms Brooks cherries in the hamachi crudo at Fifth Floor. He also doctors them up for the cherry condiment to go with his duck breast, black cardamom and pickled ramps entree. Starting this Tuesday, his pastry chef Francis Ang will also be serving an almond beignet with macerated cherries and Vietnamese coffee affogato.
Four Seasons pastry chef Jeffrey Wurtz bakes up a housemade pistachio biscuit and plates it with cherry gelee, white chocolate mousse, pistachio ice cream, cherry sauce and a plump, juicy local cherry on top.
Top Chef alum and Scala's chef Jen Biesty likes putting out braised duck leg this time of year with bing cherry sauce, Anson Mills grits and snap peas.
At Greens, Annie Somerville puts dried Hamada Farms cherries in the quinoa alongside her mesquite-grilled brochette of Hodo Soy tofu, mushrooms, fennel and other vegetables. She says the local season should last until the middle of June or so.
And Canteen chef Dennis Leary uses cherries to show his sweet side. Taste the Brooks variety—prized for a balanced sweetness—in his clafoutis with almonds and ricotta sorbet on top.
Has another local dish caught your attention with its shiny sweet cherries? Tell the world about it in the comments section.