Oh dear I love this salad. I love this salad so much I have dreamed of it since last cherry season. A year is a long time to wait.
I debated posting about it because, quite honestly, the pictures are crappy. Blame it on the light. The eagerness to dig in. My skills. Whatever. The pictures are awful and the salad is ridiculously fantastic. And, in all honesty I made it twice that week… with equally terrible pictures. But you wanted it. So, I’m setting aside my pride and posting anyway. Except the cherries. I’ll just assume you know what they look like. Conjure up your best cherry vision and go with that.
The salad comes from Molly Wizenberg’s A Homemade Life, which is a great book if you haven’t read it. Do check it out. Last year sometime I went to a cooking class instructed by her at the local food coop, PCC Natural Markets. Everything she made was fantastic- French-Style Yogurt Cake, Lamb Meatballs with Pine Nuts, Cilantro and Golden Raisins and Little Corn Cakes with Bacon, Tomato and Avocado. But what stole my heart was the Bread Salad with Cherries, Goat Cheese and Arugula. Ok, the corn cakes rocked my world too.
All the recipes are in her book, accompanied by her lovely storytelling.
Bread Salad with Cherries, Feta and Arugula
Molly’s recipe is open to tinkering so I’ll just tell you what I did.
- 1 loaf of day old or slightly stale bread, crust removed and torn into bite size pieces
- cherries, halved and pitted. I used a mix of what I had on hand. Smash part of them up a bit to release some juice.
- olive oil
- garlic, crushed (to taste)
- balsamic vinegar
- salt, pepper
- Place bread bites on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Bake at 400°F until somewhat crispy and toasty.
- Toss bread with crushed garlic while it is still hot then allow to cool slightly.
- Add all the cherries and toss.
- Drizzle some good balsamic vinegar over the top and toss. A good vinegar – but not an overly sweet kind. Think aged 10 years vs. 30 years.
- Give it a splash of olive oil and sea salt and toss again.
- Taste each bit and adjust vinegar, salt and/or oil to your taste.
- Pile on a bunch of arugula and mix in gently. Top with feta and some pepper.
- Serve right away.
I do prefer it with goat cheese, but the Ladyfriend doesn’t really like goat cheese. So feta it is. I also think this salad would be great in different seasons. Peaches or plums instead of cherries? Grapefruit and kale in winter? Now that it is on my mind I won’t be leaving it to just the cherries this year!