Thursday, September 19, 2013

Herb and Tomato Salad with Pomegranate Dressing


Sometimes an ingredient slips into your kitchen and lingers, hanging around in the cabinet waiting for you to discover it, play with it, and you end up say, “Wow!” This is what happened to me with pomegranate molasses.


Pomegranate molasses is pomegranate juice that is cooked down until it concentrates into a thick, luscious, tart syrup. Over the years, I’ve used a teaspoon here and a drizzle there, but the full magic of pomegranate molasses didn’t hit me until I started using it in a starring role – I hadn’t been using enough to really take note of that fruity, tangy, richness.

This month in our Tasting Jerusalem cooking group we’re focusing on pomegranate molasses, which features prominently in some Middle Eastern dishes. I was eager to grab my bottle and start cooking!


The first recipe I made from Jerusalem was the Fried Cauliflower with Tahini. Rather than frying, though, I roasted the cauliflower which is always my favorite way to prepare it. I then tossed it with green onions (the recipe calls for a variety of fresh herbs but I only had green onions on hand) and then dressed it with a mix of tahini paste, Greek yogurt, lemon juice and pomegranate molasses. This dressing is unbelievably good – tart and creamy – and I’ll be making it again soon.


Sparked by this delicious dish, I began thinking of other ways to use pomegranate molasses in a more abundant way. As I was starting to take a photo of the bottle, there were some very ripe tomatoes on the table and seeing them in the background inspired me to pair these ingredients together.


I chopped up the tomatoes and, having just replenished my fresh herbs, I added a shower of woodsy thyme, bright mint, earthy parsley and green onions.  To dress these lush tomatoes and fragrant herbs, I mixed pomegranate molasses (a lot) with olive oil and gently tossed it all together. Some toasted walnuts added crunch and reminded me of the traditional Persian dish, fesenjen, which has a sauce of ground walnuts and pomegranate molasses. A spicy bite from red chile rounded it out. I spooned the tomatoes and herbs over a bed of arugula and we dove into this pretty salad. And my bottle of pomegranate molasses sits in the front of the cabinet now.


I’m excited to be heading back to Seattle for the International Food Bloggers Conference this weekend and hope to see many of you there!

Herb and Tomato Salad with Pomegranate Dressing
Serves 4-5

1 1/2 pounds tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
1/3 cup thyme leaves
1 cup mint leaves
1 bunch Italian parsley, roughly chopped
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
1 small red chile, minced
1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
1/8 cup olive oil
Salt to taste
2 cups arugula

In a large mixing bowl, gently mix the tomatoes, walnuts, herbs and chile together. In a small bowl, stir together the pomegranate molasses and olive oil and drizzle over the salad. Stir a little bit and add some salt to taste. Place the arugula on a serving platter and spoon the salad on top before serving.

30 comments:

  1. I love that the process of photographing the bottle inspired the dish. Great sounding salad with your usual simple and elegant creativity. My bottle that had been sitting around is now ready to be replenished! I am loving pom molasses! Roasted some cauliflower with it the other night with olive oil and zaatar. This morning, I was so hungry, I threw the leftovers in a pan to heat up, fried an egg in the same pan and wow - yum! Can't wait to try this salad Hannah!

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    1. Thank you,Beth! What a lovely breakfast you created! My bottle of pomegranate molasses is empty, too, and I'll be grabbing another soon. I love all the inspiration I'm finding with Tasting Jerusalem! :)

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  2. I am all over pom molasses. This is a lovely salad!

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    1. Thank you, Lynda! I'm hooked on pomegranate molasses now, too, and can't wait to use it in some fall cooking.

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  3. Great ideas Hannah...I'm in a salad craving mode and these both look divine.

    I used to make my own Pom molasses and then discovered the local Savory Spice Shop carries it. In little bottles with a hefty price tag too! A trip one day to my local Middle Eastern market and voila...shelves filled with half a dozen different brands without prices to break the bank...YAY! I love using it without having to treat it like it's gold!

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    1. Thank you, Barb! Love that you made your own pomegranate molasses - perhaps I'll give that a try sometime. In the meantime, Middle Eastern markets are definitely the spot to find the best selection and prices.

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  4. Have a wonderful time at the conference. I'm happy that you left us with a lovely salad...it sounds great.

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    1. Thank you, Karen! IFBC was terrific - so many interesting, talented people and such good food...truly a marvelous weekend. I can't wait for next year, which is happily going to be in Seattle again.

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  5. I never thought of using Pom molasses in a salad dressing, I love it, fesenjan is one of my favorite Persian dishes, I even add it to my Thanksgiving dressing/stuffing. I love your salad, sounds really delicious.

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    1. Oh wow, Suzanne, I love that you add pomegranate molasses to your stuffing! I'm keeping that in mind for Thanksgiving. And isn't fesenjan wonderful? I need to replenish my pom molasses and make it soon. Happy fall cooking to you!

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  6. Those dishes look so fresh and alive! Beautiful use of the Pom Molasses Hannah!

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    1. Thank you, Alyssa! Pomegranate is such a marvelous ingredient and I'm looking forward to using it in some fall cooking.

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  7. Pomegranate molasses is such great stuff! I usually make my own, but need to hit up a specialty grocery - more convenient to buy it. Super salad - this looks so nice. Have a great time at the conference!

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    1. Thank you, John! I love that you've made your own pomegranate molasses. I'd like to try that myself sometime. IFBC was wonderful - such a creative, marvelous group of people! And, of course, we ate and drank well. :)

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  8. So wonderful to see you this weekend! I'm particularly smitten with the cauliflower and tahini you mention in this post. You haven't posted that recipe yet, right?

    Sending big hugs!

    xo,
    E

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    1. I haven't shared the cauliflower recipe here, but I recommend stirring some tahini and pomegranate molasses together and start drizzling - such a terrific combination. Warm hugs back to you!

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  9. I'm not familiar with pomegranate molasses and thank you for introducing! How was IFBC? I hope you had a fantastic time!

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    1. Hi Nami! I had a wonderful time at IFBC - such a marvelous group of talented, interesting people. And, of course, we ate and drank well! I can't wait for next year. Hopefully you have a chance to try pomegranate molasses - it's worth seeking out. :)

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  10. This looks awesome and I love the sound of the pomegranate dressing! :)
    www.prettybitchescancooktoo.com

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    1. Thanks so much, Tamara! The pomegranate dressing would be perfect on fall salads, too. I'm happy you stopped by!

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  11. Man, I am digging this. I can't wait to go try pomegranate molasses.

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    1. I highly recommend picking up a bottle, Mikaela! It's a marvelous pantry staple and I hope you enjoy it. :)

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  12. I haven't tried pomegranate molasses yet, but now I'm dying to. These two veggie dishes sound amazing.

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    1. Hi Lauren! I hope you can try pomegranate molasses soon - it's a marvelous pantry staple. I think it will be a wonderful addition to fall cooking (I'm thinking about a drizzle on roasted squash!). I hope you're doing well!

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  13. What a gorgeous salad Hannah :) I love pomegranate molasses, it packs such a punch of flavour. I would never have thought to mix it with tahini...but then that is the wonder of Ottolenghi & his flavours! I like it as a little appetizer, just drizzled in to a bowl of olive & bread on the side to dip in to it...delicious :)

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    1. Thank you, Mairi! I know, you can always count on Ottolenghi for new flavor profiles. I like your pomegranate molasses appetizer idea - perfect for fall!

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  14. I never know what to do with pomegranates. They are so pretty and the boys like them, but just eating the arils gets a little boring!

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    1. Pomegranates really are pretty! I like mixing the arils into yogurt or sprinkling on pancakes. The pomegranate molasses has a much more tart, concentrated flavor than the fresh arils. I think it will pair well with lots of fall squash dishes!

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  15. Pomegranate molasses is one of my favourite ingredients - I use it a lot in salads and also in marinades or as a glaze for meat or salmon. I love your herb and tomato salad - it looks gorgeous and tomatoes and pomegranate molasses do seem to be remarkably good bedfellows. I made the cauliflower with tahini too, and loved it.

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    1. Thank you, Sue! I haven't tried glazing meat or fish with pomegranate molasses but will definitely do so - I appreciate the suggestion. And wasn't the cauliflower with tahini just divine? I can't wait to make it again.

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