Posted Under: dairy-free, gluten-free, greens, salad, vegetables, vegetarian, winter
Today the temperature rose to 50 degrees and the sun finally showed itself. I was able to wear a jacket that was not of the head-to-toe, sleeping-bag variety! I didn’t wear a hat! I definitely needed a day like this. Stepping outside was like coming up for air.
By happy coincidence, we had planned an afternoon of exploration, and so headed a few stops further into Brooklyn on the Q train to Cortelyou Road, to wander around Ditmas Park. It was only ten minutes by train from our neighborhood, but it felt like leaving town for the day. Wandering blocks lined with huge Victorian homes and gigantic trees that I could see would be beautiful when they actually had their leaves, I started daydreaming of backyard hammocks and second-story porches and lounging around in an actual backyard with enough grass that I could actually smell it.
Alas, I think rentals in those houses are difficult to find, but it was good for my imagination, which has been in serious need of a workout lately. The rest of me has been in need of a workout, too, and I don’t think I like any exercise more than long, meandering walks through unfamiliar territory. So I returned to Park Slope late in the afternoon one happy, and hungry, girl.
Having eaten nothing but a bowl of oatmeal in the morning, I was too hungry to cook, so we stopped by the local greasy spoon. Anywhere you can get eggs and toast at 4 pm for under $5 is all right by me, as I would eat breakfast for half my meals if it were more convenient to do so. However, having eaten at an off hour, I found myself only mildly hungry at dinnertime, but in need of some sustenance to tide me over until morning.
The solution: this easy, satisfying, salad, which is the perfect antitode to a day spent consuming very tasty but very beige food. Much like my spirits were lifted by the brightly painted houses, my taste buds were energized by the vibrant colors and flavors here. You can toss this together in 5 minutes, it looks gorgeous, so it’s impressive enough to serve to guests, and in my opinion, it just might be the perfect winter salad. Each pop of tart pomegranate bursting and combining with salty pistachio wakes you up a bit. So, for those, like me, in need of waking up:
Pomegranate & Pistachio Salad
6 cups mixed greens or arugula
1/2 cup or so salted, shelled pistachios
1 pomegranate, de-seeded*
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar**
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tsp chopped shallot (optional)
salt & pepper to taste
Divide greens between 4 plates. Sprinkle pistachios and pomegranate seeds over each. In a small, non-reactive bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients until emulsified. Drizzle a little dressing over each plate, and voila! Perfect, gorgeous salad.
You will likely have leftover dressing. It will keep in the fridge for a week. It will separate while storing, but a quick whisk before serving will bring things back together nicely.
*I learned how to de-seed a pomegranate without staining my kitchen or my clothing red from this fantastic Simply Recipes post, so I recommend you check it out!
**Balsamic vinegar is one of those things where I had to be convinced, but it turns out that it really pays to get the more expensive stuff. It doesn’t even faintly resemble the lip-stinging cheap stuff; it’s sweeter and mellower and a bit syrupy, which makes it great for homemade salad dressing. Unless you eat salad every meal, a bottle lasts for a long time (I feel like a bottle lasts about a year for me), so I encourage you to upgrade to the kind with the cork top. I use Fini, if you want a recommendation.
Yields: 4 servings
Time to make: 5 min