The Indian summer continues with bright blue skies and little puffy white clouds.
Perfect salad days. I love salads and eat them all year round using what’s in season, so they change throughout the months. I like nice crunchy fresh ones in the summer and warm more substantial ones in winter, with sautéed meaty garlic mushrooms, or roasted squash or sweet potatoes.
Now that pomegranates are in the shops I've been eating one a day. The best ones are the Turkish, Egyptian or Iranian ones. They are much larger and a lovely deep red colour and I find they have a stronger sweet/sour taste than Spanish ones. They are really good for you, one of the super-super foods and a fantastic salad ingredient. They add great texture and look like jewels adorning the plate. I just love that little burst of flavour when you bite into one.
Here is the recipe for my Mango and Pomegranate Salad
- One fresh mango
- The seeds from half a large pomegranate or one small one
- One large fresh Portobello mushroom
- Two spring onions
- Fresh or frozen cooked peas
- A handful of walnuts
- A softly boiled egg
- Chianti vinegar
- Olive oil
- Sea salt and crushed black pepper
- Salad leaves
- Wash the salad leaves and drain. I used a mixture of little gem and baby beetroot leaves with foraged dandelion and mint.
- Wash the salad or spring onions and remove the outer skin then chop finely.
- Cut the mushroom into thin slices. I wanted them raw in this salad but you could cook them first if you prefer.
- Peel and slice the mango into cubes.
- Place all these ingredients into a serving dish.
- Add the pomegranate seeds, peas and walnuts. Toss the salad.
- Top with the soft boiled egg which should be just runny enough to make a dressing when drizzled with a little olive oil and vinegar. I used chianti vinegar because I didn't want anything as heavy as balsamic. I really would have liked to use raspberry vinegar, but couldn't find where I'd put it. This was a great alternative.
- Season lightly.
This a lovely fresh, fruity salad. The mushrooms and walnuts gave it a little earthiness and the combination of leaves, a nice mixture of bitterness and sweetness; which the peas also added to. For me this is a perfect salad. The only addition I would have made but couldn't get hold of at the local shop, as they had sold out, would have been, either goat's or tangy feta cheese. mmm...lovely...
The best way to remove pomegranate seeds.
This is the way that 'A' advises me to remove the seeds and he's eaten hundreds of them in his life. I know that Nigella and now Jamie both recommend cutting the pomegranate in half and then wacking it over a bowl with a wooden spoon until all the seed rain out. From experience I know that may not be the best way, unless you have a massive kitchen, or want your walls decorating with bright red polka dots that later turn to bluish purple! Don't forget that Persian carpets were originally dyed with pomegranate juice. We've found the best method to be the following:
- Cut off the top of the pomegranate with a sharp knife as close to the top as possible.
- Make two cuts in the flesh from top to base.
- Pull out the section of pomegranate and remove the seeds with your fingers, peeling away any of the bitter creamy-yellow coloured pith.
- Continue to pull away sections of the honeycomb like fruit carefully removing the seeds.