Favorite Winter Salad – Orange, Avocado and Pomegranate

Recipe inspired by: John’s pomegranate and the trick I learned to get the seeds out

orange and pomegranate saladOne usual hectic morning, I was in my office frenetically dialing in for the next conference call that I was already late for when a big, red, round object suddenly appeared between me and my phone. I looked up, and it was my co-worker John who just walked in to join the call, with his signature gentle smile, reaching out to offer me a gorgeous pomegranate that came from his backyard. “Pomegranate!” I squeaked. “You said you like it,” said John. “Um… hello?” perplexed voice came out of the speaker phone.

John remembered correctly. I enjoy eating all kinds of fruits but have particular appreciation for seasonal ones. Among winter fruits, a pomegranate is such a bright star – I cannot get enough of juicy, zesty, sweet, crunchy goodness of this salad, but I would also eat the seeds as is, sprinkle over yogurt, or mix in with couscous and nuts for pilaf. I love how they make everything a little bit more special, and the experience starts the moment you break the fruit – Seeing the creamy white inside filled with those sparkling garnet gems overflowing out of it virtually unleashes my inner princess, although in reality I’m most likely standing by the kitchen sink in my sweat pants with Hello Kitty slipper socks.

But I must confess I have been always hesitant to buy pomegranates in store, thinking about how messy and time consuming it is to take seeds out. But at the same time I could not bring myself to buy packaged seeds as they seem rather overpriced. Then I came across this trick in my research: You can easily separate the seeds by taking them out while submerging the fruit in water as they sink to the bottom while white rinds float up. Simply remove the rinds from the surface and drain to catch all the seeds in a colander. Genius!

pomegranateWith this newly acquired trade, I have gone absolutely pomegranate crazy this winter. Of course it all started when John handed me the glorious red fruit at the beginning of the season, but he recently moved into a new house. Obviously the first question I asked when he came back to work was if there is a pomegranate tree in the backyard at his new place. “No… sorry,” he said. Darn. “But I have a big fig tree. Do you like figs?”

Now I’m a bit worried something bad will happen to me as I don’t know how I deserve such a good fortune.

RECIPE (1-2 Serving – I easily eat all this by myself)

Ingredients:

  • Handful of arugula leaves (other salad mix would do as well)
  • 1 navel orange, peeled and cut up into segments, then cut in half to be a bite size
  • 2-3 tablespoons pomegranate seeds (as many as you like, really)
  • ½ avocado, diced
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Sweet citrus vinegar**
  • Red wine vinegar

** I use Trader Joe’s Orange Muscat Champagne vinegar.  If you don’t have the similar kind in your pantry, freshly squeezed citrus juice combined with seasoned rice vinegar, sushi vinegar (they are also seasoned to be sweeter) or apple cider vinegar with a little honey would do.

Method:

NOTE: I dress most of my salads by directly adding the seasonings in a bowl with ingredients and tossing them together, as it is easier and quicker. Of course you can combine them separately and pour it over, but if you do it this way, please do follow the order as described (oil -> salt -> vinegar), it is critical to ensure they are properly mixed and distributed without getting soggy. Also I usually toss them with my hands rather than using salad servers/tongs if the salad includes soft ingredients like avocado (or if I’m too lazy to take them out…).

  1. Combine arugula, orange and avocado in a bowl.
  2. Drizzle olive oil over the ingredients.
  3. Add 1-2 pinches of salt (sea salt or kosher salt), toss.
  4. Add 1-2 splashes of sweet citrus vinegar (1-2 teaspoons), toss.
  5. Add 1 splash of red wine vinegar (1/2-1 teaspoon), toss.
  6. Taste, and adjust seasonings if necessary.
  7. Plate the salad and sprinkle as many pomegranate seeds as you like over it.
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