Our Daily Dinner

Our Daily Dinner

June 21, 2010

Salade Niçoise & Cherry Soup

Salade Niçoise is usually a lunch dish. However, since today is midsumme night—summer solstice-- I thought this typical summer salad would be perfect for dinner. The recipe comes from Julia Child’s “Mastering The Art of French Cooking”, tailored to serve two. As luck would have it, my two tomato plants on our terrace had just rendered two beautifully ripe tomatoes. I always use imported canned Italian tuna, packed in olive oil.

Sour Cherry Soup*
Salade Niçoise
Wine: Ocha, Rosado Garnacha 2009, Navarra
Dessert: Biscotti

The cherry soup reminded me of my childhood in a farming area in northern Germany. During the summer, Father used to rent a cherry tree. As harvesting time grew near, he visited the orchard every evening. Trying to determine the right moment to pick the fruit was akin to “being a general in the army,” he said. “You have to know when to strike.” If the cherries were picked too soon, they would be sour; if left too long, chances were the starlings would make a clean sweep of them.

But came the day when Father gave his command: “Tomorrow.” Armed with a handcart, ladder, and baskets, my two sisters, our helper and I set out at sunrise. When we arrived at the orchard, I climbed on top of our tree and began gorging myself with cherries. So did all the other kids; each one perched on top of their family tree. Next we engaged in cherry-spitting contest, giggling so hard, occasionally one of us fell off the tree.

In a good year, a single tree produced about 50 pounds of cherries. To pick them took all morning. Returning home, I limped behind the cart, usually suffering from a dreadful bellyache. Father greeted us, taking full credit for the size of the crop. “My three cherry princesses,” he called us--enough praise to have us willingly trudge to the kitchen to begin the job of cleaning the cherries. First the stems had to be removed, then the pits. We sat in a circle, armed with cherry pitters and hairpins. It was a messy job that took the greater part of the afternoon and left us looking like butchers. I could not imagine ever wanting to see another cherry. However, by supper time, I was eager to taste the first cherry soup of the season.

For tonight’s dinner I had bought a ready-made cherry soup from Yorkville Meat Emporium. The soup was lush and refreshing. According to the label, it contained sour cherries, sugar, flour, sour cream, water, cinnamon, sticks of cloves. It will definitely become a summer staple.

The only disappointing note was the Rosé. With its strawberry-colored hue, it looked promising. Alas, it lacked tannin and tasted flat. A Fume Blanc would have been better.

*Yorkville Meat Emporium (212) 628-5147
2nd Ave & 81st St.


1 comment:

Lana said...

Mmmm... Salade Niçoise & Cherry Soup sounds like something I really would enjoy. Lately, I became really good at making salads and since Niçoise one of my favorites salad, my salads resemble it often.