I didn’t have a pomegranate for the first time until well after high school. I was at my friend Zack’s house and he asked me to hold out my hand. He poured these little red jewels, these seeds that glowed like a stained glass window, into my hand. I ate them, one by one, next to his sink. At first I spit each little seed out dutifully, but I didn’t get through the whole handful without deciding to eat the fruit seeds and all. I liked the contrast of the juicy burst of sweetly sour juice and flesh with woodiness of the seed. I was hooked.
After that I’d buy pomegranates by the armful, and after delicately extracting each seed from its honeycomb-shaped peel I’d lazily crush them and add them to vanilla ice cream, letting the deep fuchsia juice turn the ice cream the same pinkish color as the skin of the pomegranate.
A neighbor recently gave us half a dozen pomegranates, a small portion of the bounty from his tree. This salad is the perfect way to indulge a love of pomegranates in a seasonal way. It’s a magical combination and must be thrown together without exact measurements. I make this as a dinner salad just for myself or a side salad for two people.
- salad greens – depending on the season and what’s on sale I like baby spinach, spring greens, or a the fifty-fifty mix of each.
- an apple, sliced – I like using Gala and Pink Lady, but feel free to use whatever kind you like.
- pomegranate seeds – it’s hard to say how many, but I’d guess half to a whole cup of seeds.
- bacon – four or five slices, crumbled
- feta – three or four tablespoons
- vinaigrette dressing of choice – a simple red wine vinegar and olive oil is my favorite, or, if you want to omit the feta, use a nice blue cheese dressing.
A salad’s a salad, and there’s nothing different about assembling this than any other salad, but here’s a few things to keep in mind:
– Your greens need to be properly washed and dried. I am way to lazy to do this, so I buy the pre-washed packages of salad leaves. I do, however, search through the bag each time I make a salad to find any soggy bits and throw them away. You’ll be surprised how long your bag of greens will last if you scrupulously toss any leaves that have even a miniscule amount of sogginess.
– Slice your apples in thin moon-shapes, or dice them into large-ish cubes.
– As mentioned above, if you don’t like feta, skip it and use a rich blue cheese salad dressing. It will take the bite out of the raw spinach and complement the apples and sweet-tart seeds perfectly. Or if you are cooking the bacon just for this, you can add some red wine vinegar to some of the bacon grease, put in a dollop of grainy mustard, cook and stir and then pour it over your leaves as a quick dressing.
– Croutons are nice if you really like them but really not necessary. Between the bacon and the apple there’s a lot of crunch and texture going on. Garlic toast on the side is probably a better idea.