“Autumn carries more gold in its pocket than all the other seasons.”
When I was growing up in Canada’s great white north, every fall my mom would buy me one glorious exotic pomegranate. I would sit at the kitchen counter with a dish towel to wipe up the inevitable spray and drips that went hand in hand with the consuming of this fruit, and savored every.single.delicious.bite. I loved it and every fall, I remember this annual treat very fondly when the fruit makes its appearance in the markets. I am not sure why I only got a single pomegranate but I suspect it must have been very expensive to import them to Northern Ontario and my family was of very modest means.
A few years ago as I travelled through Turkey, imagine my state of wonder to discover pomegrante trees growing everywhere! Whenever we could, my sister Michelle and I would buy freshly pressed pomegranate juice. Everywhere in the streets of Turkey’s markets were huge towers of glorious pomegranates with their crimson shells beckoning us as much as the tourist savvy young men hustling to make a lira! The jewel-like seeds were crushed into a darkly alluring juice, a nectar from heaven. 4 pomegranate would yield a mere 4 oz of juice! I felt my life expectancy rise everytime I drank one of these amazing juices.
Now I add pomegranate seeds in many dishes. Earlier this week I threw together this salad which Prince Charming loved. I remade it today so I could measure the ingredients and share the “recipe” with you. I hope you enjoy the layers of flavor and texture of this salad which is as colorful as the glorious fall foliage.
POMEGRANATE AVOCADO SALAD with MAPLE PISTACHIOS
1 large avocado or 2 small, peeled, pitted and sliced
4 clementine oranges or 4 mini mandarins, peeled and segmented
1/4 c thinly sliced red onion
seeds of 1/2 of a pomegranate, about 1/3 cup
2 heaping tablespoons of mint, chiffonade cut
1/4 c unsalted pistachios
4 T Orange Muscat Champagne vinegar(Trader Joe)
2 T olive oil
1 T maple syrup
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the maple pistachios: In a small saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil and sauté the pistachios for about 1 minute until they are golden and you bring out their nutty fragrance. Toss with the maple syrup, season with a pinch of sea salt and several turns of the pepper mill. Set them on a sheet of parchment to separate them. Reserve.
On a rimmed platter, spread out the sliced avocado. Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons of the orange champagne vinegar. On top of this, in this order, spread the sliced onion, then the orange segments, the pomegranate seeds and sprinkle with the chopped mint leaves. Spread the seasoned pistachios across the whole dish, as a final layer. Taste and add the final tablespoon of oil and/or vinegar, if needed. I prefer this salad with the kick of citrus and add very little oil as the natural oil of the nuts and their coating seems sufficient. When eating it you’ll get the contrast of the nutty-sweet pistachios with the tangy orange and avocado by not tossing the whole salad in a vinaigrette.
Pomegranates are an ancient fruit, native to Iran and considered the fruit of heaven. I hope you enjoy them in this crunchy fall salad!