Tag Archives: salad

Pomegranate, Brussels endive and feta salad

This is one of my favorite winter salads. It has the qualities of a good salad: a good mix of textures (crunchy endive, smooth feta), colors (red – green- white) and flavors (sour-sweet pomegranate, bitter endive, fresh mint and salty feta) and it combines some of the best staples of winter: Brussels endive and pomegranate. Brussels endives, sometimes called chicory, were invented accidentally in Brussels in the basement of a place that now harbors a music and arts centre, the Botanique. One of their club spaces is still called the ‘Endive Club’ since the vegetable was ‘discovered’ there, as the story goes. The vegetable is bitter and therefore not everyone likes it, but I’m convinced the other star of this recipe, the pomegranate, balances the bitterness out very well.

There are many reasons to love this exotic red fruit: it’s really healthy, it preserves well for several weeks (also out of the fridge), but above all, most people love its tart taste. It also combines well in all sorts of dishes: Martha Stewart has a great tangerine-pomegranate-cranberry-champagne cocktail recipe, it goes well in salads, in hearty dishes, in desserts… I believe you have every reason to try this salad before the pomegranates go out of season again. There’s just one catch: extracting the seeds can be a tricky (read: messy) business. I recommend using a big bowl to avoid ending up with a wall that looks like you were slaughtering something, not standing near white walls that can’t be easily cleaned and wearing an apron (and perhaps a red shirt). Don’t be frightened by this advice: it’s also great fun! So let’s get to the recipe.

Pomegranate endive feta salad

Pomegranate, Brussels endive and feta salad

 

Ingredients for 4 servings

3 stalks of Brussels endive (also called chicory)
note: you can also add radicchio (a reddish-purple Italian type of lettuce) or the red version of Brussels endive to the mix, mostly to complete the color palette
1 large or 2 small pomegranates
one red onion, finely chopped
one tablespoon of raspberry vinegar (or regular red vinegar)
a handful of mint leaves
150 grams of good feta cheese, crumbled
salt and pepper

How to:

Remove the seeds from the pomegranate. Start by making an incision all around the fruit and then ‘breaking’ it apart with your hands, so you don’t have to cut through the seeds. With your fingers, remove the seeds and throw away the white bitter stuff between the seeds. (Some recipes say beat the pomegranate with a wooden spoon to remove the seeds, but frankly, this has never worked for me.) Mix the pomegranate seeds with the chopped onion and the raspberry vinegar and let the flavors soak for about 15 minutes.

Break the endive leaves and radicchio leaves apart and arrange on a large plate or in a salad bowl. Add the pomegranate mixture, add the mint leaves and the feta and top with some mint leaves. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If you’re using a salad bowl rather than a plate, you can alternate layers (endive-pomegrante-endive-pomegranate). Enjoy!

Poached salmon and potato salad with creamy watercress sauce

Such a terribly Belgian summer we’re having! Lots of rain and dark clouds give the impression of a gloomy fall day and make you want to sink into the sofa with a big mug of hot chocolate. Fortunately, there’s this salmon-potato salad which gives the summery feeling back, if only for a moment. The recipe is out of delicious. magazine. I tweaked it a little as usual, replacing the ingredients I didn’t have available with something else from the pantry and cheating with some fantastic ready-made vinaigrette. Go and pretend it’s summer with this wonderful warm salad, great for lunch or dinner!

Ingredients for 2-3 servings, in order of appearance:

500 grams of new tasty potatoes, cleaned but not peeled
one organic lemon, cut in half
two laurel leaves
A few parsley stems
one shallot, sliced in half (scallions in the original recipe)
6 black peppercorns, crushed with the side of a large knife
half a cube of fish/vegetable stock
300 grams of fresh salmon (count 150-200 grams per person)
3 tablespoons of Oil and Vinegar’s Marc de Champagne dressing (or your own honey-mustard dressing, or a basic vinaigrette, whatever you like to use for the potato salad…)
one shallot, finely chopped
one garlic clove, finely chopped (leave this out if you don’t like smelling of garlic)
60 grams of watercress
2 tablespoons of good mayonaise
3 tablespoons of ricotta (the original recipe calls for crème fraîche)
juice of half a lemon
a handful of fresh parsley and mint
pepper and salt

How to:

Clean the potatoes, cut them in  large chunks and boil them in salted water until done but with bite. Drain them, then let them steam for a few minutes in the pot (be careful that they don’t burn, shake every now and then). Cut the potatoes into salad size-chunks and mix with the dressing, shallot and garlic. Meanwhile, put the lemon, laurel,  parsley, peppercorns, shallot and stock in a large saucepan with one liter of water. Bring to a boil, then take off the fire, add the salmon and let it poach for 8-12 minutes (depending on how well done you like your salmon). Take it out of the liquid with a slotted spoon and let it drain.

Chop the watercress coarsely, and mix with the ricotta, mayonaise and lemon juice using a hand mixer or blender. Add lemon juice, pepper and salt to taste. Tear the salmon into chunks with your hands, then carefully mix with the warm potatoes. Top with fresh parsley and mint and serve with the watercress sauce. Enjoy!