I recently celebrated my twenty-fourth birthday doing what I love best, sharing a potluck dinner with friends. As I've now left my early twenties life, I figured I needed to make a salad that exuded maturity. And somehow I developed a notion pomegranate seeds conveyed such sophistication.
It's probably a theory I developed from my primary encounters with pomegranate which was limited to the drink Pom. A drink I only purchased in college because I could use fake money or “points” and since the juice came in a reusable glass cup. A perfect addition to my collection of pocketed cafeteria cutlery and dishware. Anyways, drinking Pom seemed like a classier way to acquire a glass. But no way am I going to spend $4.50 or whatever that antioxidant superfood concoction costs now. Prices these days, sheesh.
Luckily the real version is both cheaper and way more delicious. Also, cracking open a pomegranate should be a feat enjoyed by all at least once in a lifetime. The fruit looks and feels otherworldly. A hard, thick skin, varying from burgundy to coral in hue that encases vibrant red beads of juice. It’s intense.
And so is cutting into the fruit. First off, don’t wear a shirt you love unless you believe red juice splatter will enhance your clothing. Make a slice into the top of the pomegranate (the side which has the small protrusion or crown of the pomegranate) with a sharp knife. Continue to cut about halfway through the fruit. Use the slit to pry open the fruit with fingers. Cut the halves into fourths in the same manner, starting with a slit at the top. Tap the outside of the pomegranate with a wooden spoon to loosen the seeds. Working over a bowl, gently push seeds out, removing all white membrane. Most importantly, sample seeds as you go to reward yourself for all your hard work.
A simple salad made up of some of my favorite foods; I found the below to be a perfect combination. But there is always room for personal creativity and taste. I think feta cheese could be a easy substitute for the goat cheese, so would using toasted walnuts instead of pecans. I wouldn’t skip the toasting step, however, which brings out a richer flavor in the nut. And definitely don’t lose the pomegranate seeds, that’s your wow factor.
Pomegranate and Avocado Salad with Toasted Pecans
Serves 4 to 6
The seeds from one Pomegranate (see above for how to remove seeds from fruit)
One 10 oz package fresh spinach
One Avocado sliced
About 3-4 oz goat cheese
About ¾ cup whole or chopped pecans
1. Preheat oven to 350. Roughly chop pecans if whole. Spread chopped pecans evenly on a baking tray. Place in oven and cook for 10 min. Halfway through (at about 5 minutes) remove tray and toss pecans for even toasting. When done, remove and cool completely.
2. Place spinach, avocado, pomegranate seeds, goat cheese and cooled pecans in bowl. Toss with salad dressing.
I recommend only using a small splash of a simple balsamic vinaigrette. Feel free to experiment with the dressing of your choosing, but since the pomegranates add their own juiciness use a very light hand! You could even go without dressing or use a few drops of olive oil.