Puntarelle & Pomegranate Salad with Lukewarm Red Mung Bean Salad
Salad, at this time of year? Well- yes! Especially if it is a salad of Puntarelle, which are just coming into season right now!
One of my favorite greens, crunchy and deliciously, slightly bitter Puntarelle are an absolute must any time they are available on the market here- because it really isn't often! I made then in the traditional Roman manner, but added pomegranate, also in-season, to give a new twist, a blast of color and a load of added flavor!
And as it is getting to be rather chilly now- a warm salad of red mung beans on the side... Experimental and fun- and pretty delicious too!
I recently read a story online about the pro's and con's of soaking beans overnight, which I found to be rather intriguing... as the results of many tests they reported on confirmed that there was no great amount of time-saving at the end of the day- maybe 15-20 minutes... and no improvement in flavor to be had by taking a whole night to prepare the beans in. So I didn't. I boiled them straight from the bag- and they were just fine!
For my supper tonight I needed 1 small head of Puntarelle, 1 cupful of red mung beans, 1 carrot, 1/2 stalk of celery, 1 shallot, 1 lemon, a sprig or two of thyme, a squeeze of anchovy paste from the tube, some fresh parsley and a half of a pomegranate... and around 1 hour of cooking time.
I prepared the Puntarelle salad dressing in the traditional way using anchovies (I used a paste this evening), lemon juice, olive oil, a pinch of sugar and plenty of pepper... the perfect dressing for these mildly bitter greens... it's just one of those things that works perfectly! It doesn't taste fishy at all- the anchovies just bring the perfect seasoning into play which makes this recipe rock! Trust me!
For the beans, I needed a fine dice of celery, shallot and carrot...
I fried the vegetables together in just a little olive oil, with a sprig of thyme, until the onion became translucent. I then added the beans, salt, a bay leaf and enough water to cover them. I brought them to the boil, reduced the heat to a simmer and let them gently bubble away whilst I prepared the Puntarelle.
But after an hour of gently simmering away, this is what they looked like- ready to have a little finely shredded lemon zest and more olive oil added and be dressed up ready for serving... but we will get to that in just a moment!
... because first, we need to snap those little bulbs of Puntarelle apart and then slice them up as finely as we can! Same goes for the lemon zest... a little bit of a chore I know- but so worth it!
The dressing was the zest of 1 whole lemon, 4 tablespoons of olive oil, a half teaspoon of sugar and a heaped teaspoon of salty anchovy paste and plenty of coarsely ground mixed pepper... simply stirred together... terrific!
Simply mix the pomegranate seeds in with the finely sliced puntarelle, add 2/3rds of the dressing and mix thoroughly. Set to one side for the flavors to combine and intensify and go set the table whilst those beans finish boiling... then add the other third of the dressing to them, a good pinch of finely chopped parsley... and get ready to serve and to enjoy!
Colorful, flavorful, healthy and delicious!
I love to try out something new... don't you?