Christmas Salad: Pomegranate, Barley and Herbs

Edible Christmas!

I had no intention of dropping off the interwebs for that long.  As it sometimes happens, a lot changed and I lost my voice for a while.  But, I’d like to think I’m back and I wanted to share this salad with you before the holiday season was over.

Barley and Pomegranate Salad (adapted)

  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 6 celery stalks, sliced and chopped (if there are any leaves, add to dill-parsley concoction)
  • ¼ cup of your good olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • ½ tsp of garam masala
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 Tbsp chopped dill
  • 3 Tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
  • seeds from 2 large pomegranates (about 4 cups)

This is another recipe from Ottolenghi’s Plenty.  I first made it last Christmas for our family dinner and noted how convenient it was that the two colorful ingredients were red and green, which is when I nicknamed it the Christmas Salad.  This season, I’ve experimented with the seasoning slightly (decided to go sans garlic) and have come up with an adaptation that I think is blog worthy.

The most difficult part of this recipe is getting the pomegranate seeds loose from the fruit peel, but there is a way to do so and not stain everything in your kitchen pink.  Fill a large bowl with water and gently score the flesh of the peel.  Submerge the pomegranate and pull it apart.  Any juice from a burst seed will be trapped by the water and not end up in your eye.

Quartered pomegranate submerged in water

Begin to gently wiggle the seeds from the wedge, taking care to not let the fruit come above the water level (make sure you’re using a big bowl).  Once you’ve removed all the seeds, you’ll see that the seeds generally sink, and any remnants from the peel will float.  Skim off anything on the surface, then rinse the seeds with water in a colander.

I like to do this while the barley is cooking.  Deseeding two pomegranates usually takes me about 10-20 minutes, leaving you just the right amount of time to get the celery and seasoning ready to add to the warm barley.

To cook the barley, rinse with cool water then place in pot and cover with an inch or two of cold water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 30-40 minutes.  Make sure to not overcook, as you won’t want a soggy counterpart to the crunchy celery and pomegranate seeds.  While this cooks, you’ll want to combine the chopped celery, olive oil, vinegar, allspice, garam masala, salt and pepper in a separate bowl.

Once done, drain the barley and transfer to a mixing bowl.  While it’s still warm, add the celery and spice concoction.  Let it cool for at least 30 minutes.

Just before serving, chop up the dill and parsley, then combine everything in a large bowl. With this salad, you’re guaranteed to have at least one healthy thing on your plate.  Enjoy!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…



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