Cranberries, Pomegranates, Pink Ladies, Oh My!


I have strong feelings about salads. I am firmly in the camp of transforming your greens into bite-sized pieces. We weren’t meant to eat our greens like horses. So, to prep for making a salad, you will want to
1. chill the bowl (not hard right now, since it is 8 degrees out…mine froze to the step)
2. Dress and toss your salad at the last minute (my kitchen, my rules), and
3. Using a scissors, make sure everything is in bite-sized pieces. Not only does this allow the dressing to better adhere to the greens, it also means that your diners can get a better melange of tastes and textures with each bite.

The uniqueness of this salad comes from pomegranate molasses, a syrupy reduction of pomegranate juice, lemon and sugar. My offering is inspired by a recipe Bobby Flay serves up in Bar Americain. This salad comfortably served eight people.

Cranberry-Pomegranate Salad
10 cups mixed salad greens. I used butter lettuce, red oak lettuce, baby spinach, a little iceberg lettuce for crunch, celery leaves, italian parsley leaves
2 tart sweet apples, peeled and chopped in a dice (I used pink ladies)
3/4 cup dried cranberries (craisins)
1 cup pecans, chopped
2/3 cup pomegranate seeds (or a smattering or none at all)

Dressing:
3 T pomegranate molasses (available in middle-eastern grocery stores and specialty shops). I got mine at Mediterranean Island at Kalamazoo and 44th)
1 T agave nectar
1 T dijon mustard
2 T white balsamic vinegar
1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil, or 1T olive oil and 1/3 cup oil substitute*

Put all dressing ingredients in a screw top jar and set aside.
Toast pecans in oven at 300 degrees for 10 minutes. I use my convection oven and start checking at 10 minutes. You’ll know the nuts are nicely toasted by doing a taste and aroma test. They burn quite easily so don’t go off and check your email.
Rehydrate dried cranberries by putting 1/2 cup apple juice and 1/4 cup water in the microwave for 60 seconds. Let cranberries sit in this mixture for ten minutes. Squeeze dry and set aside.

Into your cold bowl, toss your salad greens. Vigorously shake dressing. Add half and toss. You decide how much dressing you’d like. Taste a leaf and see if the balance between tart and sweet tastes good to you. The cranberries will add some sweetness and the apples some tartness. You may want to add less or more of one or the other until you’re satisfied. Once the salad is dressed to your liking, put half of the other ingredients in and toss once again. Sprinkle the remaining ingredients over the top. A work of salad art.

*If you are on a low-fat diet, try this substitute for olive oil. Dissolve 2 T arrowroot powder in 1/4 cup cold water. Add this to 3/4 cup hot water. Heat to a simmer until the liquid is clear. Cool. This helps your other ingredients adhere to the leaves. Store in refrigerator for up to two weeks.

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