Ok guys, you gotta be honest with me. Does this bright orange make my backside look big?
Notice anything different? The Ceramic Canvas is trying on a new outfit, a new look, a complete redesign of the website. Although it keeps the old sharp orange color scheme (what can I say, me likes bright shiny colors), the new site is more user friendly with a stronger emphasis on the food and photos.
I’ll be honest – reprogramming the site was often painful. I mean, I’m no html, css.layout data pro. At one point I thought I had lost all of my old content. I responded the only way I knew how – I curled up on the floor in the fetal position. And nothing good can come from a grown man on the floor in the fetal position. Well, except that I realized that I really need to dust my floors more often.
But here we are – a new look. I hope you like it. What do you think? What better way to kick off this new bright and shiny web design then with a bright and shiny dish.
I love pomegranates. In particular, I like that as I bite into the pomegranate seeds they release this tart burst of juice that wakes up my taste buds. It reminds me of summers growing up in Alabama (by the way, I’ve always thought of pomegranates as summertime fruits but evidently, they’re not. Who knew?).
So, I was raring to go when I came across this recipe for Pomegranate & Walnut Salad thumbing through one of my favorite cookbooks, Turquoise: A Chef’s Travels in Turkey by Greg & Lucy Malouf. It’s a beautiful book filled with amazing recipes and photographs of food and the Turkish land/cityscape that make you long to hop on a plane and eat your way through this amazing country.
I bought the book after my good friend (and soon to be neighbor) Rasha gave me a copy of its companion book, Saha: A Chef’s Journey through Lebanon and Syria, for my birthday. I highly recommend both books.
Back to the salad. While the tartness of the pomegranate is the undisputed star of the show, what makes this salad standout is the way the other flavors and textures, lingering around in the background, round out the dish: the crunch and slightness of the pistachios, the smokiness of the toasted walnuts, the sharp brininess of the green olives, the occasional heat from the Serrano chile.
While on their own none of these ingredients are shirking violets, the flavors really play well together.
I’ve made this salad a few times – tweaking it along the way. I’ve always envisioned this salad being fresh and bright. So, I have significantly increased the amount of pomegranate to amp up the flavor. I’ve also decreased the amount of nuts and green olives – they tend to overwhelm the other elements of the dish.
Lastly, the original recipe calls for pomegranate molasses. That’s way too complicated and specialized for me (translation, I’m too lazy to go out and find it). I’ve modified the recipe by using honey and fresh pomegranate juice instead.
The great thing about composed salads is the ease in which you can adjust the ingredients to suit your taste. So, give it a try and increase and/or decrease the ingredients as the mood strikes you.
POMEGRANATE & WEALNUT SALAD
Adapted from Turquoise: A Chef’s Travels in Turkey by Greg & Lucy Malouf
½ cup walnuts
¼ cup pitted green olives, coarsely chopped
¼ cup unsalted shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped
1 cup pomegranate seeds, finely chopped
2 small shallots, peeled and finely diced
1 red Serrano chile, seeded and finely diced
2 TBL shredded flat-leaf parsley
1 TBL extra virgin olive oil
1 TBL walnut oil
2 TBL of pomegranate juice
1 TSP of honey (feel free to add more to suit your taste)
Juice of ½ lemon
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 350⁰F. Scatter the walnuts onto a cookie sheet pan and roast for 5-10 minutes, until deep golden brown. Pour the nuts into a dish towel and rub well to remove as much skin as possible. Chop the walnuts coarsely and toss in a fine-mesh strainer to remove any remaining skin or dust.
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and toss gently.
Leave to stand for 5 minutes or so before serving to allow flavors to meld.