Arugula salad w/ pomegranate dressing
Strong flavors, avocado and feta make this salad far from dainty — it is a nice dinner with lentil or black bean soup. Pomegranate molasses is concentrated stuff, with a strong, sour taste made from simmering pomegranate juice with a little sugar and lemon. You can get it at Middle Eastern grocers, and it goes wonderfully with smoked paprika. Do not confuse with Pom Wonderful, which is thinner and sweeter and comes in a cooler bottle. And definitely go for good feta made from sheep or goat’s milk. I happen to like Bulgarian feta, which is quite tangy. Greek and French are also very good — Greek is sharp and a little drier, while French is very creamy. Any of bunch is tastier than domestic cow’s milk feta.
1 small head arugula, washed, spun and broken in manageable pieces
1 small pomegranate, seeds only (see tips for seeding below)
1 small avocado, peeled and cubed
.25 cup Bulgarian feta, crumbled
2T pine nuts
4 medium carrots, peeled and shaved (with vegetable peeler)
white wine vinegar
1T extra-virgin olive oil
1T lemon juice
1T pomegranate molasses (I like al wadi brand)
salt + pepper
Make carrots. Toss shaved carrot in glass jar that has a cover. Add vinegar until carrots are just covered, and salt well. Cover jar and shake well. Set aside in fridge for 30-60 minutes, until carrots have a nice give.
Whisk together all dressing ingredients. Taste, adjust to preference and set aside.
Seed pomegranate — cut and discard a thin “lid” just below pointy crown of fruit. Now gently cut through hard skin of pomegranate in sections so you just reach the start of “ridge” — ie, the thin membrane that divides sections of the fruit. Fill a bowl with water and set up a colander. One at a time, break off a section between ridges and gently massage out the seeds under water. Drop each handful of seeds into colander and leave membrane in water bowl — the pieces will float to surface. When done, let seeds dry on a paper towel and set aside.
Set pine nuts to toast for about five minutes at 350 — use a toaster oven, as a full oven will obliterate them.
Toss arugula and dressing in a large bowl. Add carrots (without pickling vinegar) and seeds and toss gently. Plate salads and top with crumbled feta and warm pine nuts.