Friday, February 19, 2016

An Odd Couple That Works...Tomato And Pomegranate Salad

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Pomegranates are not high on my list.  It's not that I don't like them, I just don't like them enough to put them in my grocery cart.  The thought of getting to the little seeds, no matter how pretty and flavorful they are, is enough to discourage me from even trying them; but that all changed last week when I noticed them in plastic boxes at both Whole Foods and my grocery store.  Why not... it was Valentine's Day and I had been intrigued by a recipe I had seen a few months ago in Yotam Ottolenghi's last book Plenty More: Vibrant Vegetable Cooking from London's Ottolenghi.

Coincidentally, I had also been intrigued by the boxes of mixed tomatoes Costco was selling, another ingredient in the same recipe.  I already had pomegranate molasses from this chicken recipe so the signs were auspicious.

You have heard me say this before but I will say it again...the genius of this man knows no bounds.  The things he comes up with are beyond comprehension sometimes; but it all works. You can trust him and that is one of the things that made Julia Child great...she never let you down.  Plus, there is harmony in his recipes.  They sing to you, its an hallelujah chorus on steroids, but enough said.

This recipe has only one problem.  There is a lot of chopping to do.You have to cut all the vegetables in a 1/4 inch dice and it takes time (and you get bored).  Make sure you have a very sharp knife.  I diced tomatoes for awhile, then switched to red pepper, then tomatoes, red onions and watched t.v. Some of them were 3/8 inch but I hid them underneath.

You can get pomegranate molasses at Whole Foods or Amazon.  You can make your own by simply reducing Pom pomegranate juice.  Although it would not be the same, you could substitute balsamic vinegar for both the white vinegar and pomegranate molasses.  Do try to get the latter, it is, after all the point of this recipe and it keeps for awhile.   You will use again and it is great for basting when you start grilling this Spring.

It's been awhile since I last posted but I haven't felt up to it.  I have lost 15 lbs and I am delighted.  I only eat when I'm hungry and I don't think much about food but this recipe was too exciting not to post.  I will be back, as MacArthur said, but only when I have something really nice and different to contribute. After almost seven years it was becoming an obligation and that defeats the purpose of this blog.  Thanks to all of you who have kept on subscribing and accessing the blog.  Sorry to have kept you waiting so long.

Yotam Ottolenghi's Tomato And Pomegranate Salad 

Serves 4


  • 1 1/3 cups/200 g red cherry tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch/5-mm dice
  • 1 1/3 cups/200 g yellow cherry tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch/5-mm dice
  • 1 1/3 cups/200 g tiger or plum tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch/5-mm dice
  • 18 ounce/500 g medium slicing tomatoes (about 5), cut into 1/4-inch/5-mm dice
  • 1 red pepper, cut into 1/4-inch/5-mm dice (1 cup/120 g)
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced (rounded 3/4 cup/120 g)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
  • 1/4 cup/60 ml olive oil, plus extra to finish
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large pomegranate, seeds removed (1 cup/170 g seeds)
  • 1 tablespoon small oregano leaves

  • Preparation:

    Dice the tomatoes, pepper and red onion and add to a medium bowl.

    In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, allspice, vinegar, pomegranate molasses, olive oil, and a scant 1/2 teaspoon salt until well combined. Pour this over the tomato mixture and gently mix.

    Arrange the tomato mixture and its juices on a large, flat plate. Sprinkle the pomegranate seeds and oregano over the top. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and serve.

    Cook's Note
    Although it says it serves 4, this recipe really serves 6.  Make sure you don't over mix the tomatoes or they will get mushy.

    All photos Lindaraxa


    1. This dish looks too beautiful to be real. I do have a thing against biting down on pomegranate seeds in a recipe, but I should try to get over this; after all I don't mind eating pumpkin-seed shells when well-roasted.

      For the dicing (especially those vegetables) I would definitely use a ceramic knife, which seems made specifically for this job. If you don't have any yet, I would make my first one a Kyocera--the most dependable brand.
      PS--I am glad you seem better right now, and also Happy Chinese New Year (Monkey)--the celebration period lasts until next week.

      1. A ceramic knife...great idea! will try next. With the marinade the seeds soften up somewhat so you don't have the icky feeling biting down on them. Nice to hear from old friends like you. Missed you!

    2. What a lovely salad and I do think the food gods were with you on the ingredients. It was definitely meant-to-be. I too discovered the lovely little seeds in a small plastic container at Publix around Christmas time and snapped them right up. As you say, who would want to mess with getting the seeds out and chance spraying the juice all over yourself and the kitchen. Not me. I also happen to have an unused bottle of pomegranate molasses just waiting to be put to good use, so you have truly inspired me. Think I'll chop and stop, then start again until I get the job done, probably the only way I can stand that long. It's really good to have you back and what a grand and beautiful way to start off with this gorgeous salad. Take care.

      1. My friend Jim recommended using a ceramic knife. Think I will try next time. Yes, I saw them at Publix too and they are at least $1 less than WF. nice to be back with all my old friends!

    3. So nice to hear from you! This salad will be a welcome addition to our dinner party this weekend!

      1. You will get lots of oooohs and ahhhhhhs!!! Go for it!

    4. pomegranates, are a favorite here....with an over abundance off the tree, we certainly use it in all of our greens and on cooked foods.
      I mean pilaf with a few scattered poms, and chicken.....the pom molasses is wonderful as a glaze. Enjoy these beauties, with all the wonderful essential goodness for us that bring those antioxidants. Sel

    5. Ah, welcome back, and what a way to make an entrance with such an enticingly pretty salad. I've not heard of pomegranate molasses (who came up with that one?), but I do know that Ottolenghi is quite the food alchemist.

      Looking forward to trying this salad, but I agree, looks to be quite fiddly.

    6. Thank you for coming back! Always appreciate your recipes and am going to try this one, especially now that I know where to get pomegranate molasses. The pomegranate seeds are available in a plastic package at Trader Joe's and I freeze them, using only what I need each time.


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