Sweet cherries are flooding my local grocery store! I know they usually take a backseat to their coveted and more popular sour siblings, but I always love that sweeter version of the fruit and eagerly await their in-season arrival each year. I bought way too many and am happily scrambling to find ways to use them up.
This salad is the second thing I made with my stash. The first thing was a whole roast duck with a fresh cherry-rosemary sauce on the side. It was so delicious, and I really wanted to share it with you, but this brings me to the point in this post where I start apologizing for my food photography of late. The new place has a completely different layout than the old place. There’s more windows, but they aren’t directly off the kitchen, and I have less space for food styling. But the layout is open enough that natural light does reach the kitchen where I’m photographing, if it’s not overcast or nearly sunset. So I’m definitely still figuring out what works and what doesn’t. That duck most definitely fell into the DOESN’T WORK category. Obviously you’ve figured out by now that I’ll share less-than-perfect food pictures on this site, but, come on, I do have my limits! It has to still look like food, you know?
So hopefully this second, and no less delicious than the first, savory cherry dish works well enough to post without hanging my head in food photography shame. Because I seriously couldn’t get enough of this. It’s perfectly balanced in flavor and texture, equally tasty served cold or room temperature, easy to throw together, and just so perfect for hot summer days. I hope you love it as much as we did!
2 cups sweet red cherries
2 cups water
4 tbs olive oil, divided
2 cups couscous
3 tbs minced shallot
3 tbs red wine vinegar
½ cup minced fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley
½ lb. feta cheese
2 tbs chopped pecans, or slivered almonds
Pit the cherries into a small bowl and let them sit while you make the couscous. Some of their juices will drain into the bowl (not much though!).
In a medium saucepan, bring the water, 1 tbs olive oil, and ½ tsp kosher salt to a boil. Add the couscous and stir. Cover the saucepan and shut off the heat. Let stand for 5 minutes, then open the pot and fluff with a fork. Let the couscous cool a bit.
Slice the pitted cherries into thirds and set aside in another bowl. Add the shallots to the juice in the first bowl. Add kosher salt to taste, the remaining 3 tbs olive oil, and the vinegar. Whisk to create the dressing.
Add the dressing, along with ¼ cup of the minced parsley, to the couscous and gently toss to coat. Add the cherries and stir to combine. Crumble the feta cheese over the couscous, then add the remaining parsley (you can save a little for garnish if you want), and the pecans or almonds. Toss to gently combine. Taste and season with extra salt if needed, but remember that feta is pretty salty already – mine didn’t need anything more.
Serve this salad at room temperature or chilled. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.
I loved this both at room temp and chilled – probably prefer room temperature if I HAD to choose, but I really loved both. Also, this makes a TON! Couscous really expands. Feel free to cut it in half.