After all these sweets my teeth are starting to ache a little. Snow is piled up two feet deep over the garden and I am starting to crave something fresh. A deep rummage in my fridge unveils the ingredients for this ideal winter salad. Bright and pretty, crunchy and juicy, it satisfies that need for something healthy and light amidst all the rich holiday goodies. As a nice bonus, the colors are rather festive too!
(An alternate name could be 'Play-Date Salad' as it is a perfect salad to whip up for those Mama's looking for a light lunch. We sure enjoyed ours.)
Extensive baking is still underway, with pretty packages of it being shipped to loved ones in New Mexico and British Columbia. A bake sale fund raiser I organized raised over $500 that will be turned into food baskets for needy family in the neighborhood. After three months of practice, our Christmas cantata gives two performances this weekend and we are looking forward to having that over and done with! (I am trying to remind myself why on earth I agreed to do a solo...) Gifts are slowly being made or purchased and wrapped up prettily. Grocery lists are getting longer and longer as menus are being formed and reworked.
I am thrilled that we have mounds of fluffy white snow and that I can organize a tobogganing party, just like my family hosted every year when I was growing up. Those are some Christmas memories worth repeating. Chili and Cornbread, anyone?
Here's wishing you all an enjoyable and relaxed week-end leading into the last few days before Christmas!
Winter Salad of Russet Apple, Pomegranate, and Pecans
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.