I think I've made this salad four times since the beginning of the year. I found it on a nifty food blog called Under the High Chair. She calls it Winter Salad of Russet Apple, Pomegranate and Pecans. A fancy name, but it is just a simple combination of apple, celery, pomegranate, shallot and pecans with an apple cider vinegar vinaigrette. I just love it and I want to call it Waldorf Salad Nouveau. For a few days last week I couldn't find a pomegranate at any market. I learned that pomegranate season runs from September to January. And I feared that my salad days were over. But, ever diligent, I kept going to different markets until I found some and then I bought a bunch to hold me over for a while.
The recipe calls for juicing the pomegranate and then reducing the juice to a syrup for drizzling over the salad. I cheat on this step by buying Pom juice and reducing that (much less messy than juicing a pomegranate.) The blog writer calls it her "play-date" salad because she makes it for moms when they meet for playdates. So for the first time, I made it with some girlfriends during a little lunch "play-date." It went over well. You can also put it this salad over greens (like baby spinach or romaine) to make it more substantial. But I like it best just as a composed little course of a salad.
The salad is simple elegance defined. S make it while you can. Also if it is still possible to get pomegranates near Valentine's Day, I could not imagine a more appropriately gorgeous first course to a romantic dinner for two.
Winter Salad of Russet Apple, Pomegranate, and Pecans - from Under the High Chair
1 russet apple, julienne
1 pomegranate, seeds removed
1 stalk firm celery, julienne
¼ cup pecans, lightly toasted and roughly chopped
1 shallot, julienne
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons grape seed oil
Salt and pepper
In a very small saucepan, bring apple cider vinegar to a boil. Pour over julienne shallots and allow to cool to room temperature. Mix in grape seed oil and set aside.
Reserve about ¼ cup of the pomegranate seeds and crush the rest to extract the juice. Pour off the juice into a wide, shallow bowl and place in microwave. Microwave on high for three minutes, then scrape down sides with a spatula a stir slightly. Juice will be reducing and thickening. Microwave, one minute at a time, checking consistency between each minute until juice is consistency of maple syrup. Cool.
In a bowl, toss together the apple, reserved pomegranate seeds, celery, and shallots and some of the apple cider marinade. Season with salt and pepper and add more vinaigrette if needed. Add pecans, toss and mound onto a plate. Drizzle with pomegranate reduction and serve.