Raise your hand if you’ve ever eaten a ground cherry before.
Maybe you’ve called them husk cherries. Or husk tomatoes. Or Cape gooseberries. Or perhaps you’ve never heard of them.
Well here’s an introduction for those of you who, like me, only discovered these treats recently. Ground cherries are a small berry-like fruit that are sealed up in a papery covering, sort of like a tiny tomatillo, and can often be found at farmer’s markets in late summer.
Their flavor is earthy and slightly sweet, which make them a great candidate for jams and pies. Ground cherries are also a great addition to a summer salad or a salsa, but on the other hand, they go well with more savory flavors as well.
That’s where chutney comes in. Chutneys are kind of like a savory jam. They come in all forms and flavors, but there are a couple constants: a fruit or vegetable base, followed by a little vinegar and sugar, with a variety of spices to finish it off.
Once you’ve got chutney, you can choose to do a lot of different things. You can use the chutney as a topping on your pork or chicken, add it to a potato salad with extra vinegar, use it as an accompaniment to your charcuterie board, or spread it on a gooey grilled cheese sandwich. Let’s focus on the latter.
Let’s all admit that whether we’re 7 years old or almost 30, a grilled cheese sandwich is exactly what we want for lunch. Perhaps the 7 year old crowd wants their sandwich plain, but for us adults, we can up the ante by adding more complex flavors.
The ground cherry and plum chutney is just that: a little sweetness and acidity to complement a hefty dose of melty gouda cheese.
Finish it off with a touch of arugula for some crunch, and you’ve made yourself and adult grilled cheese sandwich, which appropriately pairs with a glass of red wine. Just in case you’re having that type of lunch.
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 medium shallot, minced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
- ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons agave nectar
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup water
- 5 ounces, about 1 cup, husked ground cherries, halved
- 2 medium plums, pitted and coarsely chopped
- 4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
- 8 slices whole wheat bread
- 2 cups Gouda cheese, shredded
- handful of arugula
- Heat canola oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots, garlic, and ginger and cook until aromatic, about 3 minutes. Add in coriander, cinnamon, and salt and mix well for 30 seconds. Stir in agave, vinegar, and water. Add in ground cherries and plums and bring mixture to a boil. Lower heat and let chutney reduce, stirring occasionally, for about 25 minutes.
- Once chutney has thickened, transfer to a jar or small bowl and let cool slightly.
- Butter each piece of bread on one side (about ½ a tablespoon per slice). Place one piece of bread, buttered side down, in a small skillet. Top bread with chutney, about ½ a cup of Gouda, a little bit of arugula, and another piece of bread (buttered side up). Turn heat on medium and press down with a spatula. Cook until bread has started to brown and cheese is melty. Flip and repeat on other side. Repeat with remaining sandwiches.
- If you have chutney left over, use it to top pork, chicken, or other sandwiches.