Thursday, 21 May 2015

Jewels of the Orient

Insalata "Gioielli d'Oriente"
"Jewels of the Orient" Salad- with Sumac, Yogurt & Lemon Dressing

"Well, that's a bit of a pretentious name for a salad!", I hear you cry... and you're possibly right! Maybe it is! But at the same time, the radiant red pomegranate seeds do look a little like rubies- and the diced cucumber could remind of of emeralds... so why not?!!

Such a simple salad to make but such a tasty one to eat and enjoy! Simple ingredients, a hint of spice and a lot of color, will make this an eye-catcher and and conversation starter at any dinner party... or just put a smile on your face when you fix it for yourselves... at least that is what it did for me this evening!


This is basically a simple "chopped salad" with very everyday ingredients, but by adding herbs and pomegranate, plenty of zest, a dash of yogurt and that tangy sumac, I transformed it into a slightly more exotic alternative to an everyday salad. Not that I would be opposed to eating something like this every day!


Take a look and see- here is the proof that this was indeed a very simple affair... no matter how complex it may look! The ingredients were: 1/4 of an iceberg lettuce, 1 small cucumber, 1 small red pepper, 9-10 cherry tomatoes, 1 lemon, fresh mint and basil, 2 tablespoons of yogurt, 1 tablespoon of sumac, salt, pepper and olive oil.

And the result was a lovely bowl of salad which would easily have yielded 4-5 side-portions, or 2 good-sized main portions. But this evening, I was obliged to eat the whole thing myself! Poor me! 


It almost seems a shame to toss this salad and to "mess it up" when it comes to serving... except that it may look rather different afterwards but still look amazing all the same- hehe! It's a winner- plain and simple!


Except for finely chopping/dicing the ingredients, there is not any other prep-work to be done here... except for dealing with that pomegranate! Which can seem a rather daunting task for most people... so let me explain how easy it actually is do it properly! This will make you a very happy camper- and also give you the opportunity to show off in front of your friends!

The way to do it is to top and tail the pomegranate, as you can see here. Take a close look now and you will see the individual segments of the pomegranate- those white membranes that separate the sections of the fruit. And all you need to do now, is to cut down these intersecting lines, from top to bottom- basically cutting each segment apart from the next. Don't worry- you will see what I mean in the next photo!


This is what happens when you then snap each section apart... ta-dah! Each segment, nice and clean and un-messy, ready to be lifted out and eaten and enjoyed, without banging, squeezing or damaging the fruit... or making that huge mess that most people make!

And now, simply begin constructing your salad! Lay the finely chopped lettuce leaves into your bowl first as they are the most delicate with regards to how soon they will soften after having the dressing added, and then build up the salad in layers.

I added the chopped cucumber, herbs and tomatoes next... but then all the fun stuff got added... well... almost!


What I did add was the pomegranate, the yogurt, sumac, lemon zest and a nice drizzle of olive oil, along with salt and pepper of course... but in my eagerness to take some nice photos... I somehow managed to forget to add the pepper- but as you can see in the final photos, I did remember right at the end! In any case... when you serve up your version... try to remember- lol!


Once you are ready to serve, simply add the juice of the whole lemon and a good pinch of salt, toss together, mixing everything thoroughly, making sure to dig down deep and really get everything well coated.

And true enough... once everything IS mixed together, that yogurt will blend with the lemon juice, oil, sumac, salt and pepper... and of course settle to the bottom of the bowl. But... it will indeed become a wonderful condiment! To scoop up, to drizzle on top... and to enjoy!

What a beautiful little bowl of salad- an absolute treasure- and every bit as precious as any jewels! Oh... and edible too!

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