While I like to think it’s still technically fall (it is, right?), this salad has “winter holidays” written all over it. I’m already envisioning it as a staple for my December menu planning. It’s both red and green, the unofficial colors of December, and it uses pomegranate which is a fruit I always forget about until this time of year.
Anyways I came across this salad while digging through my giant stack of “things to make someday” — pages and pages of recipes liberated from various culinary magazines. I was a bit stressed out because the past few weeks have been so busy I haven’t had time to make real meals. While I’ve managed to whip up several different desserts (just wait for the apple cider caramel post!), my savory cooking has suffered. I’ve been surviving on my favorite ramen and Amy’s frozen “light and healthy” entrees. *sigh
So last week, I got to work finally putting some real food together. This salad, from the February 2013 issue of Food & Wine, called out to me for several reasons.
First I adore brussels sprouts. Raw, roasted, charred, it doesn’t matter — they are one of my favorite vegetables hands down. I also liked that it was a raw salad — no need to blanch anything. And with the addition of juicy pomegranate seeds, it seemed like a side dish that would be equally delicious and easy to throw together.
And it was simple — maybe a little too simple because I felt like there were a few more steps needed to really make this salad amazing. The recipe calls for dressing the thinly sliced brussels and “serving right away.” Personally I think the salad could benefit from dressing the greens 5-10 minutes in advance, allowing them soften just a bit and soak in the flavor.
I was also a little underwhelmed with the dressing. Maybe I’m just a garlic/shallot addict but I thought it need some of both, finely minced, to really make it interesting. As it is, it’s a little bland.
But still the salad is delightful and pretty close to being exactly what I needed. It was full of fiber and made me happy that I was eating something green and unprocessed. The pomegranate seeds made each bite pop and their tartness was quite lovely with the rich salty cheese. The hazelnuts were also pretty spectacular in there, adding some extra crunch. In fact, all of the ingredients played well together, making the salad balanced and rounded.
And, it’s just really pretty, which is also why I loved it. Every once in a while I do judge a salad by its looks and this is one of those times!