Talk about a jubilee: To commemorate National Rainier Cherry Day (who knew?) on July 11, the Washington State Fruit Commission decided to think big and let everyone share in the sweetness. In order to make the most of this prized seasonal ingredient’s short shelf life (it must be picked ripe and is only available six weeks out of the year), they selected one chef/restaurateur in each of the 50 states to receive a shipment of cherries and create a signature dish with it.
For Nevada, the chef was off-Strip star Nina Manchev of Forte. “They contacted me a couple months back and asked me to send in a recipe,” Manchev told us. Just days ago, Manchev got her shipment of cherries and started making a compote, which will be available through this Friday accompanying a Berkshire pork chop (and truffle butter mashed potatoes), or torchon de foie gras. “They are the best cherries,” Manchev said. “We base a lot of our cuisine on things in season, so that each element stands out on its own. It definitely compliments our style of service, and it fits with our European theme.
“I feel very honored,” she added. “And it’s nice to be involved in a campaign that’s promoting a really good product.”
FORTE Berkshire pork chop and Rainier cherry compote and mashed truffle butter potatoes
4 Berkshire pork chops
sea salt and pepper
3 cups Rainier cherries, halved and pitted
3 tbsp. honey
3 tbsp. sugar
juice of 2 lemons
16 oz. water
Season the Pork Chops with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Leave covered with plastic wrap in the refrigerator. In a small saucepan, combine next five ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes. Take off the fire and chill to release juices. Grill pork chop.
Mashed truffle butter potatoes
4 medium sized potatoes
4 oz. unsalted butter
8 oz. black truffle butter
Peel potatoes. Slice thick and put them in a pot. Add unsalted butter, water and sea salt and boil until fork tender. Mash the potatoes, add the truffle butter and mix it in vigorously.
Serve the pork chop over the potatoes and cover with warm Rainier cherry compote.