Last summer, I had a breakthrough that came from the kind of paint-yourself-into-a-corner creative challenge I’ve learned to enjoy as a professional chef.

I invited some guests over for dinner one night, only to discover in the late afternoon that one person was a vegan. On my way home from my office job, I picked up a sack of in-season black cherries. On sale, plump and alluring, they twinkled at me below the fluorescent lights, as if under the KiraKira+ filter, so I threw them into my basket to figure out what to do with them later. As is, they would have been a welcome after-dinner offering or sweet treat.

Instead, I came up with my new summer classic, a black cherry salad that was the star of our last-minute, four-course vegan meal. I’d say I now look forward to making this dish for friends as much as I do an heirloom tomato panzanella when tomato season finally rolls around.

But however equally craveable, this salad is somehow much easier. It’s quick to assemble, uses a couple of impressive kitchen techniques and is extremely elegant. And it calls for only three widely available main ingredients: cherries, pistachios and scallions. (Do olive oil, vinegar and salt count?)

The cherries are split in half, so you can enjoy big, juicy bites, and the pistachios coarsely chopped. Some depth comes from separating the more classic allium flavor of the white scallion stalks from the brighter flavor of the green tops, and preparing them differently. The white stalky base (the part you soaked in water to propagate your scallions during quarantine) is treated in one of my favorite ways to doll up a plain white onion: charring directly on my stovetop burner on high — gas or electric works. Then, mince the charred scallion bottoms finely with your knife. Just keep on mincing until it’s a pulverized, black-green paste.

As for the green scallion tops, I cut them on a bias very thinly and soak them in ice water for a few minutes. Not only does the cold water help them curl, it also rids the raw scallions of their sharp notes, transforming them from “too oniony” to “just oniony enough.”

The dressing helps the raw chopped pistachio adhere to the fruit, while the pistachios introduce an interesting chew and a creamy fattiness. Make it once as is, then give Pierre Hermé a run for his money. Throw some fresh rose petals into the final mix of the salad for a delicate strawberry-rose fragrance, and a Baroque, sensual layering of flavors. It’ll be the stranger at the dinner party everyone wants to know more about.

Recipe: Black Cherry-Pistachio Salad With Charred Scallion Vinaigrette