I was just scrolling through the blog today and realized that we haven’t had salad in a while. If you don’t count the that kale and barley deal from earlier this month (Is it salad? Or is it a side? I categorized it as salad on the recipes tab, but I’m rethinking that one), the last salad we ate together was on July 13. If you’re curious, that was eighteen weeks and three days ago. I was curious.
That Friday the 13th salad was unusual in that I had veered from my standard dressing of a drizzle of oil, a squeeze of lemon, salt, pepper, and I’m done. Instead, I made an orange blossom dressing that I actually call liquid gold, it’s that good. Well, my friends, I’ve found another dressing that just might just give that dressing a run for its money.
This Monday the 19th one centers around pomegranate molasses. You’ve seen pomegranate molasses (also called pomegranate syrup) all over this blog. It’s in lamb and meat sauce and a roast. It glazes carrots, decorates roasted vegetables, and caramelizes tarte tatins. It has also found itself atop a bowl or two of vanilla ice cream.
Pomegranate molasses is just very concentrated pomegranate juice. You can buy it in Middle Eastern (and sometimes Indian) grocery stores or make it yourself by reducing pure juice in a sauce pan until it thickens into a sticky syrup. It’s sweet and puckeringly sour. If you like sour candies, you might want to run out to buy a bottle of this stuff. Or two.
But it never occurred to me to turn it into a salad dressing until my friend Jess suggested it. And now I can’t get enough of it. The first time I made, I licked the last few drops off of my plate when I ran out of bread for sopping up. Luckily I was alone at the time. Though, I might very well have done it in a restaurant full of strangers.
Arugula salad with pear, goat cheese, pomegranate, and walnuts
– 3 C loosely packed arugula
– 10 sprigs of parsley, minced
– 1 scallion, sliced on a bias
– 1 pear (I used Bosc), cubed
– 2 T goat cheese, crumbled
– 1/2 C pomegranate seeds
– 1/3 C spicy candied walnuts (see below)
– pomegranate molasses dressing (see below)
Pile. Mix together the arugula and parsley and arrange on a large plate. Sprinkle with scallion, pear, and goat cheese.
Tap. To remove the seeds from the pomegranate, slice the fruit in half, hold a piece cut side down over a large bowl, and hit the outside skin with a wooden spoon. Most of the seeds will fall out and you can gently pry out any remaining ones. Juice will splatter, so don’t wear white.
Finish. Scatter the pomegranate seeds and walnuts over the salad. Drizzle with dressing. The dressing is intense, so drizzle sparingly.
Spicy candied walnuts
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen. You’ll have leftovers, which you’ll probably end up eating by the handful.
Makes 2 1/2 cups
– 1 egg white, room temperature
– 1 T pomegranate molasses
– 1/3 cup brown sugar
– 1/3 cup white sugar
– 1.5 teaspoon kosher salt
– Generous pinch of cayenne pepper
– 1/2 t cumin
– 1/2 lb (2 1/2 C) walnut pieces
Preheat oven to 300ºF.
Whisk. With a fork, whisk the egg white and pomegranate molasses in a large bowl.
Mix. Add the sugars, salt, cayenne, and cumin, and mix everything together. Stir in the walnuts and toss until evenly coated.
Bake. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper, and spread the sugared nuts in a single layer on top. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Cool. Remove from the oven, and separate nuts as they cool. When completely cool, pour the nuts into a bowl, breaking up any that stick together.
Pomegranate molasses dressing
Inspired by Sweet Amandine. You’ll have leftover dressing, but it keeps in the fridge for at least 2 weeks.
Makes 1/2 cup
– 6 T olive oil
– 1 T pomegranate molasses
– 1 T lemon juice
– 2 t brown sugar
– salt and pepper
Shake. Put everything in a jar and shake to mix. The sugar may stick to the bottom, so use a fork to dislodge it and keep shaking.
Taste. Dip an arugula leaf into the dressing and adjust the seasoning.