First off, let me state that I want this healthy chef driven salad by Yotam Ottolenghi every day. It is the quintessential Lean Luxury in that when you eat this you don’t feel deprived, you feel like you are giving your taste buds a treat. It is healthy and packs a punch with flavor and color. This ticks off all the healthy boxes for me. It makes the perfect Lean lunch and can be eaten on its own, over brown rice or served with a piece of grilled fish. It’s a winner, winner yummy dinner too as a side to a chicken breast perhaps.
I first tasted this delicious healthy salad at a dinner party at my house when Charlotte brought it. It was a big hit – the star of the evening amongst many worth dishes. It is simple and includes ingredients that we all know and have tasted a thousand times and yet here, in that Ottolenghi way, there is something so new and magical about this jewel like creation with “the two types of sweetness – the sharp, almost bitter sweetness of the pomegranate and the savory, sunny sweetness of tomato – can compliment each other so gloriously.” So let’s delve in to how to make it and most importantly how to open a pomegranate without ruining your cream cashmere cardi.
A couple of key tips to keep in mind:
- It’s important to cut up the tomatoes into small pieces roughly the same size as the pomegranate kernels.
- The pomegranate was picked from my tree in the garden but you can usually find fresh pomegranate at the grocery store.
- A key ingredient is the pomegranate molasses in the dressing.
- I don’t like raw onion and my husband doesn’t like raw red pepper so I’ve left them out and I don’t think the recipe is any less delicious for it.
- Additional seeds can be added to your rosé Champagne as a garnish and can be enjoyed as a snack with bubbles as the sun sets over the ocean and a pandemonium of parrots flies by. If this isn’t an option for you at least take a moment to imagine it happening.
How to open a Pomegranate
It’s very simple to extract the pomegranate kernels without ending up getting juice everywhere by using the bowl of water technique:
1. Take the pomegranate and carefully score the skin around the circumference top to bottom and separate in half.
Place the two halves in a bowl and cover with cold water.
Gentle prize out the seeds and leave the pith and skin to float to the top of the water whilst the seeds sink to the bottom.
Rinse the seeds and pour off the water and discard the bits until you are left with no pith or skin and a bowl of seeds.
Drain and set aside.
I adapted Yotam’s recipe – no red pepper as Didier really doesn’t like it – and only one type of tomato – vine ripened to perfection. The pomegranate part was an easy pick from the tree in the garden and I skipped the garlic and pickled the onion.
I also cooked up some brown rice – using my rice cooker and I flavored the hot rice with extra dressing and the tomato juices. I spooned the salad over the rice and topped with some very special tuna fish from Spain.
Recipe for Pomegranate and Tomato Salad by Yotam Ottolenghi
Seeds of 1 large pomegranate
5 vine ripe tomatoes, 0.5 cm dice
1/4 red onion, finely diced and pickled in vinegar
1/2 garlic clove, crushed (optional)
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
60 ml good olive oil, the best you can afford, plus a little extra to finish
1 tablespoon small oregano leaves
fleur de sel
What to do:
- Open the pomegranate and extract the seeds as shown above.
2. Mix the tomatoes and onion in a large bowl and set aside.
3. In a small bowl whisk the garlic, allspice, vinegar, pomegranate molasses, olive oil and 1/3 teaspoon of fleur de sel, until well combined. Pour this over the tomatoes and gentle mix.
4. Arrange the tomatoes and their juices on a large platter. Sprinkle over the pomegranate seeds and oregano leaves. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil.
5. Serve over sushi rice that has been mixed with extra dressing and tomato juices and top with the best tuna fish in the world for the tastiest healthiest Lean lunch!