Wednesday, December 1, 2010

apple-blue cheese-pomegranate salad

I try very hard not to buy specialty ingredients that I will only use in a single recipe, but it happens from time to time. We all have a few random ingredients in our kitchens that make us feel slightly guilty whenever we see them hanging out in the back of a cabinet or cupboard. The tin of mustard powder, the chestnut oil, the jar of black sesame seeds, the mango barbecue sauce. It's almost always condiments, isn't it?

I have bottle of pomegranate molasses in the back of my refrigerator that's been there for a very long time. I have used it to dress Lebanese-style tomato salads and once incorporated it into a cocktail recipe, but other than that, it doesn't get pulled out much. Which is a shame--it has fantastic flavor, tangy and sweet, the thick, concentrated essence of pomegranates. I recently had a dish of roasted cauliflower drizzled with the stuff that gave me ideas.

Anyway, I was on the hunt for a fall salad to serve before Thanksgiving. I wanted something with apples, and blue cheese, and some sort of crunchy nut. Maybe a handful of greens. And then I found a Bobby Flay recipe for that very thing AND it had pomegranate molasses in the vinaigrette. Sold!

This is a fine salad, but the dressing is something pretty special. The pomegranate molasses adds a nice tang that's balanced out by honey and Dijon mustard. It's like your typical salad dressing but with something a little mysterious in the mix. People will say, what's in this? This is so delicious! And you'll just smile, knowing that you can whip the salad up any old time because that bottle of pomegranate molasses is not going anywhere anytime soon.

Chopped apple salad with toasted walnuts, blue cheese and pomegranate vinaigrette
By Bobby Flay via The Food Network
Don't have pomegranate molasses on hand, or can't find it? Here's how to make it.
(Serves 6 to 8 people, but I easily cut this recipe in half)

For the dressing:
1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 heaping Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. honey, or more to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

For the salad:
6 apples (Granny Smith, Gala, Fuji) any or a combination of all, skin left on, core removed and cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 cups baby or regular spinach
2 heads endive, thinly sliced
1 cup toasted coarsely chopped walnuts
3/4 lb. blue cheese, crumbled (I used Buttermilk Blue)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Whisk together the pomegranate molasses, vinegar, mustard, honey and salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until emulsified. Combine the apples, spinach, endive, walnuts and blue cheese in a large bowl. Add the vinaigrette and toss to coat, season with salt and pepper, to taste.


Unknown said...

Wow...pomegranate molasses. I"ve never been privy to such a thing. I like the idea of fusing apples with the taste of blue cheese and pomegranate.

Daniel said...

The pom molasses was (were?) awesome. Bobby Flay would be proud.

Michele | Cooking At Home said...

Although we have a green salad most every day, I'm always looking for something more when friends come over. And this salad sounds delicious.

Lisa said...

Tender Branson: Yes, it's really good. I bet you could find it at Whole Foods or a Middle Eastern grocery store, if you have one in your area.

Daniel: Would he? Or would he want to throw down?

Michele: Thank you! It's a nice step up from the usual mixed greens.

Ci-Sun said...

Wonderfully tasty. Easy. This one's a hit whenever I make it, wherever I take it.

Lisa said...

Ci-Sun: Agreed!


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