Pickled cherries with ricotta and bresaola

Makes two 500ml/17 fl oz jars

The contrast of sharp, sweet cherries and smoky, delicate bresaola (air-dried, salted beef) is very pleasant: the gentle creaminess of the ricotta is needed here to link the flavours together.

700g/25oz sugar
800ml/28fl oz good-quality red-wine vinegar
12 cloves
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
1kg/2lb ripe cherries

Discard any blemished fruit. Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar over a low heat in a large saucepan then add the cloves and the peppercorns.

Turn up the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, then remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Pack the cherries loosely into two sterilised jars and pour the pickling liquid over.

Seal tightly and let sit for a week before using.

To serve, allow three fine slices of bresaola per person, and add a generous tablespoon of ricotta, some watercress and 3-4 cherries alongside.

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