Monday, December 2, 2013

Chopped Apple Salad with Toasted Walnuts, Blue Cheese and Pomegranate Vinaigrette

David took the kids to see Frozen this past weekend.  Elizabeth was giving me a painstakingly detailed breakdown of the plot.  At one point, it went a little like this “…and Elsa, the queen, she is older but not really old like you, Mommy.”  Ouch. 

A quick check of the internet and one of the many benefits of pomegranates is for “aging.”  Good thing this fruit is currently in season and tastes great!  Bobby Flay created this seasonal salad.  Surprisingly, he did not include pomegranates in the salad itself, just the dressing.  Being the nutty, recipe adapter that I am (ha!), I topped the salad with pomegranate seeds.  No such thing as too many.

Chopped Apple Salad
Pomegranate Vinaigrette:
1.      1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
2.      2 T red wine vinegar
3.      1 heaping T Dijon mustard
4.      1 T honey, or more to taste
5.      Salt
6.      Freshly ground black pepper
7.      3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (add slowly, you may not need all 3/4 c)
1.      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.      2 cups baby spinach
3.      2 heads endive, thinly sliced
4.      1 cup toasted coarsely chopped walnuts
5.      3/4 pound blue cheese, crumbled (recommended: Maytag, Danish, Cabrales)
6.      Pomegranate seeds
7.      Salt
8.      Freshly ground black pepper

For the vinaigrette:
Whisk together the pomegranate molasses, vinegar, mustard, honey and salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until emulsified - taste periodically, I used less than 3/4 c.

For the salad:
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.  Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds on top.

Pomegranate molasses – this is supposedly available at some stores, in particular in Middle Eastern markets.  You can also make your own – 2 cups pomegranate juice+ ¼ c sugar + ½ T lemon juice.  Place the pomegranate juice, sugar and lemon juice in a 2-quart saucepan set over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has completely dissolved. Once the sugar has dissolved, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the mixture has reduced to 1 cup, approximately 70 minutes. It should be the consistency of thick syrup. Remove from the heat and allow to cool in the saucepan for 30 minutes. Transfer to a glass jar and allow to cool completely before covering and storing in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

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