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Sour cherry and feta crostini

The biology of the palate is beautifully designed. The molecular taste receptors are a large family of proteins adapted to taste the basic four flavours: sweet, salt, bitter, and heat. What is amazing is the combination of these flavours. The taste receptors are not independent but interact with each other, either amplifying certain flavours or dampening them. For example, when we add a pinch of sugar to a bitter dish, say a bitter melon curry, the sugar dampens the bitterness of the melon.

In this dish, the salt from the cheese and the tart sweetness from the preserve balance each other beautifully, enhancing each other. This is a lovely Middle Eastern-influenced crostini. The sour cherry preserve is paired perfectly with the salty feta cheese, and the combination does wonders on your palate.

This is a beautiful book packed with most of the well-known Persian recipes. The instructions are simple, and you are guaranteed to fall in love with the tahdig once you master this art. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a great starter on Persian cuisine. For more recipes from this cookbook, click here.


For the cherry preserve:

1 lb pitted sour cherries

3/4-1 cup white sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup water

Juice of 1 lime

11/2 teaspoons rose water

For the crostini:

1 sourdough baguette, toasted

Sour cherry preserve

2 oz, feta cheese

Slivered pistachios

Mint leaves, torn

Mix well with the pitted cherries in a bowl with half the sugar. Marinate the cherries for 3 hours or overnight.

Add the cherries, the rest of the sugar, salt and water to a small pot. Bring to a boil and simmer gently for 15-20 minutes until the cherries are soft but still hold their shape. The sugar will form a thick syrup. You will need to stir the pot almost continually as the syrup thickens.

Remove from the heat, add the lime juice and rose water, and mix in well. Taste to ensure the preserve is tart, and the rose aroma is unmistakable.

Cool and store in the fridge.

To assemble the crostini, layer the bread with the cherry preserve. Top with crumbles of feta, pistachios and mint leaves. Serve immediately before the bread gets soft.

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