Sunday, December 9, 2012

Christmas Week: Pomegranate, Olive & Walnut Salad

LUCY BURDETTE: I'd eaten a Pomegranate, Olive & Walnut Salad once at my sister's house and I thought a version of it would be perfect for the holidays. It has that red and green color scheme in spades.

Pomegranates are hot weather fruits that come as large reddish spheres. Once you cut the tops off and slice them in half, the little seeds (resembling red corn kernels) are visible. I'd never made anything with this fruit before so the process was interesting. I ended up scraping the seeds out with (well-washed) fingers. You don't want to get the pulp in your salad, as it has a bitter taste like a grapefruit rind. On the plus side, this fruit is full of antioxidants and vitamin C and has a lovely sweet taste. Be careful about what you're wearing as the red juice splashes out everywhere while you scrape seeds.

Because I had one lime left on our little tree that needed a special home, I made the vinaigrette with lime juice and good quality olive oil. (This is Tonka, watching me harvest the lime.) Taste it to see what you think you need--I added about 1/2 tsp of salt and the same amount of sugar. I think you could also do fine with balsamic vinegar and maybe a tsp of grainy mustard instead of the lime.

The whole salad is INTENSE with a lot of strong flavors, so I chose to serve it on a bed of mesclun greens. The mixture I found had a lot of pea shoots in it, which were lovely.

Ingredients (serves 10 to 12)

2 pomegranates
1 cup pitted green olives, coarsely chopped (I used stuffed green)
1 bunch cilantro, cleaned and chopped

2-3 scallions, cleaned, chopped (white and pale green parts)
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
4 tsp lime juice
3 T olive oil
Sea salt to taste
1/2 tsp sugar
5 oz Mesclun or other nice greens

Cut off top of the pomegranates, cut in half, and pull apart.  Remove seeds and discard skin.  Place seeds in a bowl and add olives, cilantro, shallots and walnuts.  

Whisk together remaining ingredients to create dressing,  Pour dressing over salad, toss and serve on a bed of baby lettuce.  

Now back to Christmas shopping...don't forget that culinary mysteries are the perfect size for stocking stuffers:)...

 You can learn more about Lucy Burdette and her Key West food critic mysteries at her website or on Facebook or Twitter


  1. I can't believe that you have a lime tree in your house! It must get terrific light to thrive. Amazing!

    Sometimes the coincidences in life are too weird. I had never heard of pea sprouts but bought a bag this week. Perfect timing. I love pomegranates. So this is right up my alley!

    ~ Krista

    1. We're so crazy about this lime tree Krista. I bet we've had it ten years and we usually get about 8 limes a season. And the flowers are so sweet-smelling--the scent fills up the whole kitchen!

      hope you like the salad:)

  2. Lucy, what a beautiful salad. Perfect for the holidays. Do you think I could substitute celery or water chestnuts for the walnuts (allergic) and get the same crunch? I know nuts add so much flavor. Other ideas?

    And speaking of limes...I have a dwarf Meyer lemon tree that I thought was supposed to deliver in the summer. It's rife with lemons right now. Yum!

    Daryl / Avery

    1. Not sure about celery, as it's a strong flavor too. But maybe water chestnuts. I've never even seen a real Meyer lemon--what a treasure in your yard!

  3. Such a beautiful salad. I've never used pomegranates before - they seemed a little labor intensive to me. Trader Joes has them already seeded....may have to take the lazy route.

    1. You certainly could Sharon, but the seeds are easy to scoop out, just messy. I had red juice on my cabinets, my counters, the floors and me:). I think I was in a hurry...

  4. In reply to seeding a pomegranate and the mess. DON'T PANIC. :)

    Hey, everyone, about getting the pomegranate seeds out. This video on youtube: will show you how to do it easily. The chef suggests filling bowl with water. Cut pomegranate in half. Submerge and pop out the seeds beneath the water. No mess. The membrane floats to the top and is poured off with the water. The seeds are intact at the bottom of the bowl. Science!

    Daryl / Avery

  5. What a beautiful salad! I can't wait to make it (without the cilantro, as I've got those tastebuds that perceive it as soapy). I never would have thought of this combination together - thank you!