Around mid July is the time of year when you wake up in Seattle to familiar grey skies and moist air (and being the responsible person that you are, you dress for the day accordingly) only to emerge from work eight hours later to gorgeous azure skies, sunshine that can barely contain itself and a sweet little breeze that puts a pep in your step and a smile on your face. That cardigan is no longer needed and those socks suddenly seem quite restrictive. So you roll down your car windows and slick on the chapstick. You gingerly take your sunglasses out of the case, wipe them off (they’re dusty from 10 months of glove box storage) and slide them onto your face.

When you finally get home and open the fridge, a smile curls up in the corners of your mouth when you remember all the goodies you have stashed in there. No not the chocolate ice cream in the back of the freezer, I’m talking about the gems in the produce drawers. Sweet and almost sticky black plums, perfumed peaches and plump blueberries. Giant fava beans and silk-covered corn. But you dig a little more until you find what you have been waiting to savor all year. Rainier cherries.

You didn’t exactly “hide” them, but they were strategically concealed behind the jalapeños in case any scavengers decided to raid the kitchen while you were away. You select one perfect specimen from the bag and inspect it’s golden blushing pinkish red skin in awe. You bite into the creamy flesh and savor its sweet, delicate flavor. And while you could stand in front of the refrigerator and eat the whole bag that you meticulously, individually selected cherries, you refrain.

Instead you cut up some watermelon and pit the cherries. You plate the melon and cherries and decide to throw in a few blueberries for good measure. It’s not long before you spy a log of goat cheese hanging out in the cheese drawer, and while a crumble would do, a quenelle is formed because classy cherries deserve classy accompaniments. Sea salt is liberally scattered around the whole lot, as is a grind of black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. A few drops of concentrated balsamic and petite basil leaves finishes the plate.

Summer in Seattle is slow to come and quick to leave, but it sure is sweet.

Salted Watermelon with Rainier Cherries and Goat Cheese

Serves 4 as a first course


4 watermelon slices, ½ inch thick

½ lb rainier cherries, halved and pitted

¼ cup blueberries

1 tablespoon best quality extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon best quality balsamic vinegar

4 heaping tablespoons goat cheese (plain or herb flavored)

sea salt or kosher salt to taste

freshly ground black pepper

basil leaves to garnish

Cut the watermelon. Cut out four 6-inch circles from the slices, then cut the circles in half for a total of 8 semicircles. Cube the remaining watermelon into ½ inch squares and set aside.

Plate the fruit. For one serving, stand two of the semicircles upright on their flat edges. Scatter the watermelon cubes, cherries and blueberries around the plate.  Repeat with the remaining fruit.

Shape the goat cheese. Form the goat cheese into quenelles using two spoons to pass the cheese back and forth until you have a 3-sided football shape. Put one quenelle on each plate.

Finish the plate. Drizzle the olive oil and balsamic vinegar around the plate. Season liberally with salt and pepper, then garnish with basil leaves and serve.

2 responses to “Salted Watermelon with Rainier Cherries and Goat Cheese”

  1. Hi Emily!
    I stumbled upon your blog in search of a question in google. Have you ever had potato chips and ice cream? What popped up was your post was for Red Snapper Pickled Red Grapes & Thai Basil; simply delectable. (my first experience with ice cream and potato chips just occurred 3 nights ago and I don’t see it ending any time soon. Oh good goodness!)

    Thank you so much for sharing…And yes, I bought my first “batch” of Rainier Cherries just today. I’m going to save your link. If I get time I would love to share this for National Goat Cheese Month which happens to be in August!

    Thanks again…

  2. Hi Louise!
    That’s great that you found my blog that way. I hope you continue to find combinations here that keep you coming back for more : ) Thanks for stopping by!

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