Holiday Salad

When the holidays come around I basically wrap myself in everything Christmas – the house full of decorations, 24/7 carols on my iPod, and festive cocktails and dishes.  This salad is pulled from one of my recommended cookbooks, Ottolenghi, from Monday’s post Peep My Cookbooks.  It’s crisp and refreshing, which makes it a nice foil to the often heavy, comfort food type dishes that get cooked in December.  It also happens to be red, white and green!  The pomegranate seeds are little jewels in the salad but they aren’t just for show – they add a nice pop of juice and tartness.

Lots of supermarkets these days sell little containers of the seeds themselves but it’s a lot cheaper to buy a whole pomegranate and seed it yourself.  It’s really very easy (instructions below) and with the leftover seeds you can decorate a cocktail, stir them into rice or top ice cream.  Sumac isn’t the easiest spice to run down, middle eastern markets will carry it.  If you are in DC area, Yekta is an amazing Iranian market in Rockville.  Luckily our friends Debbie and Toby live around the corner so anytime I visit them I make sure to stop and stock up.  Otherwise you could find it online.  If you can’t find it I would just skip it as there isn’t really a comparable taste, smokey and lemony all at once.  Don’t worry, the rest of the components still make it a great dish.  This is also a good one for a buffet because it’s served at room temperature and the fennel won’t wilt under the dressing like regular lettuce will.  Doesn’t it make you want to run out and grab the book?

DSC00202

Fennel and Feta Salad (printable version at the end of the post)

Inspiration: Fennel and Feta with Pomegranate Seeds and Sumac from Ottolenghi
Special Equipment:  mandoline (or a very sharp knife)

  • 1/2 pomegranate or 1/3 cup seeds
  • 2 fennel bulbs
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons sumac
  • the juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 tablespoons tarragon leaves
  • 2 tablespoons parsley leaves
  • 2 1/2 ounces feta, cut into small cubes

First seed the pomegranate – halve the pomegranate and hold one half, cut side down over a bowl.  Use a spoon or another hard cooking tool to smack the skin side of the pomegranate.  Keep “spanking” the pomegranate and the seeds will loosen and fall into the bowl.

Set the seeds aside.  Next cut off the stalks of the fennel bulb saving some of the frilly green fronds for garnish.  Discard the outer layer if it’s brown or bruised.  Cut the fennel bulb in half and then use your knife to cut out the triangle of core on each half (its pretty tough but you can leave the core in if you don’t want to do this step).  Using a mandoline or a sharp knife cut the fennel in very thin slices.

Place the fennel in a bowl and toss it with the olive oil, sumac, lemon juice, tarragon, parsley and fennel fronds.  Toss well and season with salt and pepper.  Add the pomegranate seeds and feta and toss lightly until they are incorporated.

Holiday Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 5 minutes
  • Print

Inspiration: Fennel and Feta with Pomegranate Seeds and Sumac from Ottolenghi
Special Equipment:  mandoline (or a very sharp knife)

  • 1/2 pomegranate or 1/3 cup seeds
  • 2 fennel bulbs
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons sumac
  • the juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 tablespoons tarragon leaves
  • 2 tablespoons parsley leaves
  • 2 1/2 ounces feta, cut into small cubes

First seed the pomegranate – halve the pomegranate and hold one half, cut side down over a bowl.  Use a spoon or another hard cooking tool to smack the skin side of the pomegranate.  Keep “spanking” the pomegranate and the seeds will loosen and fall into the bowl.  Set the seeds aside.  Next cut off the stalks of the fennel bulb saving some of the frilly green fronds for garnish.  Discard the outer layer if its brown or bruised.  Cut the fennel bulb in half and then use your knife to cut out the triangle of core on each half (its pretty tough but you can leave the core in if you don’t want to do this step).  Using a mandoline or a sharp knife cut the fennel in very thin slices.  Place the fennel in a bowl and toss it with the olive oil, sumac, lemon juice, tarragon, parsley and fennel fronds.  Toss well and season with salt and pepper.  Add the pomegranate seeds and feta and toss lightly until they are incorporated.

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: