The summer season and the busyness it always brings has led me to seek simplicity when it comes to meals. In our house, this occasionally means skipping a big dinner for several smaller, appetizer portions of whatever we can find in the fridge and throw together in a hurry. My kids refer to these meals as ‘snack plates’ and honestly are completely happy when we serve this compared to a large meal that takes far longer to put together.
This easy cherry appetizer is a cherry, brie, and arugula combination served over grilled baguette bread. It came together one evening after I brought home a massive amount of dark-sweet cherries (perks of work!) and we forgot to meal plan for that night. Now, it’s become a go-to summertime appetizer if we are having friends over, and on those nights we’d rather play outside than spend time in the kitchen.
Cheese and fruit are a classic pairing, but I think we often forget about our summer fruits – like cherries – when it comes to enjoying a fruit with cheese. I love Brie cheese with cherries because it is light and creamy and doesn’t overpower the incredible sweetness and complexity that cherries have. I used an original style spreadable Brie for this recipe, but would also recommend a double or triple crème Brie from the gourmet cheese section at your grocery store if you don’t mind taking the time to remove its rind.
Arugula is a leafy green with a subtle peppery flavor to it. It’s a light green, not as thick as spinach, and goes great with the cherry and Brie combination. I grilled the baguette with a handy, non-stick panini press, but you could also use your BBQ. If you go that route, you may want to brush melted butter or oil on the bread before grilling to avoid sticking.
Once you’ve sliced and grilled the bread, simply spread Brie cheese on one side and top the cheese with at least five leaves of arugula. Slice a pitted dark-sweet cherry almost in half, allowing it to open fully but leaving it as one piece. Then, finish your baguette bite by placing the cherry on top of the arugula so that it looks like a tent.
Simple yet satisfying, this easy cherry appetizer uses a few ingredients, comes together in minutes, and best of all, highlights one of the best flavors of summer – fresh Stemilt cherries! Enjoy!