while paying for a couple of eggplants at the market on saturday, a nice old man picked up a weird little pod thing from a bin and asked, "have you ever tried one of these?" he squeezed the husk and a small gold fruit popped out in my hand. told me they were husk cherries, or ground cherries. he said you can use them as you would either strawberries or tomatoes. how can that be possible? they had such a peculiar flavor-- i had to bring some home to experiment.
we'd been planning to harvest the belle of the garden, our most monstrous brandywine (1lb, 15.2 oz!), and just make a simple tomato basil bruschetta with it. i decided to expand our bruschetta menu to include the ground cherries. i cooked them down into a jammy syrup with balsamic vinegar, and served it on top of goat cheese crostini. the results were amazing! if you can get ground cherries, you must make this immediately.
ground cherry and goat cheese bruschetta
1 1/2 cups ground cherries, husked and well rinsed
1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 baguette, sliced
olive oil, salt, pepper
1 log goat cheese
combine ground cherries, water, sugar, and vinegar in small saucepan. cook over medium heat until fruits burst and liquids reduce to a syrup. add a little more water if it gets too thick too fast.
prepare crostini by drizzling baguette slices with olive oil and seasoning with salt and pepper. bake at 350 degrees 5 minutes. remove from oven and smear tops with plenty of goat cheese. place under broiler just long enough for cheese to begin to soften, 2 minutes or so.
serve crostini topped with ground cherry mixture.