Sunday, December 18, 2011

Festive Green Salad with Red Poms

Printable Recipe

A perfect salad anytime but especially pretty for the Christmas table. Pomegranate arils dot the bright green romaine lettuce like lovely little holly berries. So pretty without the deadly poison of the holly. Truly, don't get those two mixed up. And drizzled over all, a pink poppyseed salad dressing that's just a bit sweet, just a bit tangy. So, let's whip up a healthy, completely poison free salad!

The assemblage: a pomegranate, dried cherries, romaine heart, and toasty sliced almonds.  For each salad you'll need 1 cup of chopped lettuce and 1 tablespoon each of almonds and dried cherries and 2 tsp pomegranate arils.  Top with 2 Tablespoons dressing which we'll make in a minute. First things first though: how to get the goods out of that pomegranate and a quick way to take the romaine down to easy bite size pieces. My mom used to say that a piece of salad lettuce should always be small enough to bite without cutting up at the table. I do the lettuce cutting ahead of time with that in mind. One Note: Dried Cranberries work just as well in this salad and are just as pretty and red.
A quick way to cut the romaine hearts (which I came up with after doing romaine salads for 80 one day) is like this: Cut a wedge out to remove the core, as pictured here, then slice the whole thing from end to end, flip it over a half turn, and make a second cut the long way. Now you can slice across in narrow strips and get nice bite size pieces quickly.

How to Seed a Pomegranate

Well, you can bash it smartly with a wooden spoon which I've seen Nigella Lawson do on her cooking show with great success. I find that some seeds fly out while lots of splatters ruin everything within two feet of the bowl. 

The better solution is to submerge the pom half in a bowl and sort of flip it inside out. Work the little arils out underwater so that any released juice stays in the water and the waxy membranes float away.

Now the waxy insides can be skimmed off the top and the little red jewels retrieved with a mesh strainer. There will be more than enough for 6-8 salads, maybe more.

Pink Poppyseed Dressing

Mix together in a jar with lid and shake furiously or whisk until all is emulsified:

1 Cup Canola Oil
Less than 1/4 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
    (about 2-1/2 Tbs)
2 Tbs Honey
1/2 teaspoon honey mustard
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
pinch of salt

THE SHOPPING LIST: (for 6-8 salads)
2 Hearts of Romaine
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup Dried Cherries or Craisins
1 Pomegranate
1 cup Canola Oil
1/4 C Red Wine Vinegar
Honey Mustard
Poppy Seeds

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