When I was first studying to become a Landscape Designer over 20 years ago, I worked part-time for The Herb Farm in Fall City, WA. This world renowned restaurant and nursery was where I began to discover the endless culinary uses of herbs. Culinary herbs are fabulous, fragrant and delicious additions to many savory recipes. The Executive Chef of the Herb Farm at that time, Jerry Traunfeld, now Chef and Owner of Poppy restaurant in Seattle, was (and still is) a master at using fresh, local herbs to flavor meats, sauces and relishes. Jerry would add herbs to fish, chicken and beef in ways I had never seen before. I learned so much from Jerry and the kitchen gardeners about food and how to flavor them in new and interesting ways. My gardening back ground helped me to develop this wonderful new recipe for a Very Cherry Relish.
It is cherry season here in Pacific Northwest! Beautiful ripe, dark red bing cherries can be found at all the Farmer’s Markets, road side stands and, in my case, hanging over my back fence. Our neighbors give us free reign to pick any cherries that weep on our side of the fence. After munching and munching on them as a snack, I realized I needed to do something with the bulk of them before they went bad, so I started researching other uses for cherries. Then I remembered that I had seen an interesting recipe in the L.A. Times on a recent trip to California. This recipe called for using anise (licorice) flavored herb called Tarragon, in a savory cherry relish to go with grilled meats, so I decided to try it.
In my own home garden, where I love to grow as many herbs, vegetables and fruits as I can fit into a suburban yard, I had parsley and basil growing, but no tarragon. I decided to adapt the recipe a bit by adding both the basil and parsley. It also called for red onion, which I didn’t have (growing some, but they are not big enough yet) so I substituted shallots instead. My Very Cherry Relish (my name for it!) became the garnish for a beautiful Grilled Flank Steak (see additional recipe). It was a hit! Both sweet and tangy, the relish adds a ton of flavor without a lot of calories and it looks great on the plate. Feel free to experiment with different herbs that you have available.
I served the Steak and Very Cherry Relish with a Kale Salad and Orzo Salad.
Since those wonderful days of hands on education at The Herb Farm, I have always made an effort to incorporate edibles into my landscape designs. To me, there is nothing better than walking out your door and picking fresh, organically grown herbs and vegetables.
Bonus! Perfect Grilled Flank Steak recipe!