A Bitten Word Recipe
For our recent dinner with Mark and Ryan, we had the main dish -- Coconut Chicken Curry with Turmeric and Lemongrass -- and we had the side, that deliciously addictive Persian-Style Rice with Golden Crust.
We needed a salad.
With the global flavors of the meal as inspiration, and specifically the Persian rice, we decided to improvise a Middle Eastern salad. Using a few things we had on hand, we made a basic vinaigrette dressing with a Middle East twist: pomegranate molasses. We've mentioned this ingredient before, but if you're not familiar with pomegranate molasses, it's a thick, syrupy reduction of pomegranate juice. It's popular in Turkish and Iranian cuisine. Don't let the "molasses" fool you: This isn't sweet. In fact, it's mouth-puckeringly tart. A little goes a very, very long way.
We're fortunate enough to live less than a block from a Middle Eastern grocery store. But you may be able to find pomegranate molasses in the International aisle of your supermarket, or at a specially food store. (And there's always the Internet.)
For the salad itself, we kept things very simple: fresh spinach, some chopped dates for sweetness, and pomegranate seeds for variety and color (and to complement the pomegranate in the dressing).
The finished salad was exactly what we wanted: fresh and bright and slightly exotic without overwhelming the other foods on the plate. It turned out great!