A Summer Bread Salad You Must Try.

By: Jen Shoop

I’ve had a number of requests for weeknight meal recipes. I feel like a bit of an imposter sharing anything at all since Mr. Magpie has done 100% of the cooking in our home for nearly a year and a half now, but I went back through some of my favorite recipes from years past and one jumped out at me: Molly Wizenberg’s Cherry Bread Salad with Goat Cheese from her lovely memoir, A Homemade Life. I’ve made plenty of substitutions in my time, swapping out the cherries for peaches, nectarines, or strawberries; substituting watercress or fistfuls of herbs for the arugula; using feta instead of goat cheese–but it truly is perfect as-is. I do recommend buying a cherry/olive pitter if you are going to go with the base recipe, as this will seriously reduce the complexity of preparing this dish, and pitting is a rather satisfying process with the proper tool, almost like shucking peas.

I’ve made this salad at least a dozen times, and I usually prepare it when Mr. Magpie has grilled a thick ribeye to serve alongside. There’s something about the salad that stands up to a Big Grilled Protein, offering a nice textural and acidic counterpoint. But it could just as easily serve as an entree on a hot summer night. Whenever I make this recipe, I think about a family trip to Colorado five or six years ago where each of my siblings took a turn preparing dinner for the entire clan over the course of the week. Mr. Magpie and I made steak and grilled vegetables and I prepared the salad below. I still remember my sister and I eating the remaining croutons — soaked in vinegar and oil — with our fingers right out of the bottom of the bowl, during sobremesa hour, glasses low on wine and conversation spilling out easily. For that reason, the salad stands out in my mind as the perfect meal to serve loved ones in the summertime, when the living feels easy.

Molly Wizenberg’s Cherry Bread Salad with Goat Cheese

1/2 lb cherries, pitted
6 oz white bread, preferably day old
Olive oil
1/4 tsp crushed garlic
2-3 tsp balsamic vinegar
3-4 oz goat cheese, crumbled

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Tear the bread into bite-sized hunks, lay out on a cookie sheet and lightly sprinkle with olive oil. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes until you have lightly toasted crouton-type things.

Put about 1/3 of your pitted cherries in a bowl and crush them with the back of a spoon/fork to release the juices.

When the bread is finished, let cool for a minute, then place in a large bowl with the garlic and toss to coat. Let cool a minute. Add the cherries — crushed and whole — and toss again. Sprinkle with 2-3 tsp of balsamic vinegar. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil and the goat cheese and toss again. Add arugula and toss to mix. Serve immediately.


+Lots of my favorite kitchen gear listed here.

+Woven sandals are the thing this summer — I snagged a pair of these Cult Gaias, but also love these (also Cult Gaia), these Carrie Forbes x J. Crew, and this $30 Target score (in the natural/woven).

+This $148 dress is SO good. Perfect blue color. It reminds me of Ciao Lucia’s Gabriela dress!

+How great is this laminated-interior makeup pouch? Reminds me of Roller Rabbit’s hearts and might actually work as an alternative in your diaper bag to a wet-dry bag from PBK. (Also comes in a blue heart print for a little boy, and in some cute florals if that’s more your speed.)

+Some great al fresco dining finds.

+Chic chair.

+A great gift for your self or a loved one. How happy would this make you on a rainy day with a good book?

+Fun (inexpensive) striped beach foutas. Love the lilac!

+Two cute swimsuits for under $70: this gingham and this blue floral.

+Love these swim trunks for your man!

+And how great is this swimsuit for your little lady?

+BTW, still time to order something special for Father’s Day.

+Another great summer salad.

+Currently eyeing this dress for myself…and a similarly voluminous white dress for less here (reminds me of ByTimo!).

+Adore this under-$50 scallop-trim top!

+$39 casual shorts — love the blue color.

+This $200 dress is amazing — sort of reminds me of the Daphne Wilde Giovanna look for less.

+These fluted glasses would make me so happy.

+Love this $35 white eyelet mini!

+Perfect with dressy sneaks.

+One of my most-asked for posts (sorry things can be tricky to find on this blog): chic personalized stationery that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

+Gorgeous phone case.

+This indoor/outdoor flush mount is showstopping!!!

+More chic lighting.

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4 thoughts on “A Summer Bread Salad You Must Try.

  1. Echoing Mia — LOVE a panzanella, and this sounds so delicious! Going to add it to my list, as interesting salads are our go-to during summer heat waves.

    Also, I have the top version of the Staud Vincent Dress and it’s so chic; I love it! Mine is in last year’s blue & white chinoiserie-esque print, but I love the white. So crisp!


  2. Oh I love Molly’s book! This recipe fell off my radar. Thank you for sharing it here! I do enjoy panzanella-type salads. How can you go wrong with a base of crunchy bread croutons doused in olive oil? Molly’s combination of goat cheese and cherries reminds me of my favorite Jeni’s ice cream flavor (exactly that – goat cheese and cherries) which I used to get at her scoop shop in Columbus, Ohio, where she started! I remember it being such a unique ice cream flavor.

    Gabby Dalkin also had a recipe for stone fruit panzanella with peaches and nectarines and burrata… drool.

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