Summer Cherry Salad

Things that come from the ground are my friends. All year round I’m steaming, frying, roasting, chopping, and devouring tons of fresh produce. Salads however I have a complicated relationship with. I rarely crave a simple salad unless it’s over 90 degrees outside. I’m a little envious of the people who actually look excited while in the lunch line for their custom salad creations.

But when it gets hot, all I want are salads.

Total side note: Mark Bittman put something together years ago that’s still my summer salad bible. Behold: 101 Simple Salads for the Season

Cherries have arrived, and as my favorite summer fruit (well, they tie for first with blueberries), they get plenty of special attention.

When Ari and I visited Turkey a couple years back we got to know cherries through new eyes. They were used in so many recipes, drinks, and candies and even as fresh fruit chasers after downing a shot of raki. Many of my favorite Turkish dishes were perfectly crafted combinations of sweet and sour, or sweet and tart. Cherries fit that profile so nicely and this salad is a twist on a Turkish one.

The salad also has pomegranate molasses in it, which if you haven’t read many of my posts, is one of my all-time favorite ingredients (which I first learned about in Istanbul).  I really recommend stocking your pantry with it, you’ll find so many delicious uses for it!

Something else you might have heard me sing the praises of is a cherry pitter. Once upon a time I thought it was a silly kitchen tool that I didn’t need cluttering my precious drawer space. Oh how I was wrong! This little tool has come in so handy both with cherries and with olives. It keeps whatever you’re pitting intact and beautiful. Trust me. Get it. You’ll use it.
The original recipe calls for a chili that I’m not familiar with (and can’t find), so I’ve substituted jalapeño’s which add a good heat to what’s already sweet, tart, savory, and fresh. (Is fresh an ok word to describe cilantro? Only answer that if, to you, cilantro doesn’t taste like soap.)
I’m adding this salad to my list of good things for outdoor eating. Well, maybe not for the White Picnic (my grace+cherries = irreparably stained clothing), but for all other gatherings in parks and backyards. Happy Summer Salad Season to all!
Summer Cherry Salad
  • 1lb cherries, pitted
  • ⅔ cup walnut halves, toasted and chopped
  • ⅓ of a bunch of cilantro
  • ½ a jalapeño, minced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1.5 Tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • Salt to taste
  1. Mix together the cherries, walnuts, cilantro, and jalapeño in a large bowl.
  2. Add the dressing components directly to the bowl and stir together.
  3. Chill for an hour before serving. Restrain self from eating  the whole bowl.