Cherry Relish Bruschettas

cherry relishThe large, dark Hudson cherries, sweet and flavorful, are the most commonly available supermarket cherries right now.  You might also find Rainiers, which are lighter in color and very sweet and mild.  Either of these varieties is great in this relish.  In fact, using a combination gives the flavorful relish even more color. This is great as recommended in the recipe with goat-cheese toasts, but it is a versatile dish that goes equally well in fluffy couscous or added to a curried chicken salad. For faster assembly, use Melba toasts or ready-made baguette toasts, sold in many supermarkets. Adapted from Fine Cooking.  Makes 24 bruschettas

1½ C fresh sweet cherries (about 8 oz.), pitted and finely chopped
½ C finely diced jícama
1 medium scallion (white and green parts), very thinly sliced
1 T chopped fresh mint
1 t red wine vinegar
Pinch of red pepper flakes; more to taste
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2½  oz. (1/3 cup) soft fresh goat cheese
2½  oz. (1/3 cup) ricotta cheese
24 ½-inch-thick baguette slices, toasted
olive oil, for brushing on toast (optional)

In a medium bowl, stir the cherries, jícama, scallion, mint, vinegar, and red pepper flakes. Season to taste with salt, black pepper. Let the relish sit for 15 minutes and check for seasonings, adding more pepper flakes or salt as needed. While the relish sits, in a small bowl, mix the goat and ricotta cheeses. Using a pastry brush, brush toast slices with olive oil. Lightly spread the cheese over each baguette toast and top with the cherry relish.

To serve cherry relish with couscous, fold cherry relish into 3 C prepared couscous. Season with additional salt and pepper as needed. Garnish with lime wedges. Serve warm or room-temperature. Makes a great side dish to grilled chicken or lamb.

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