Pomegranate seeds are suited to a salad in a dinner menu marking Summer’s end. They figure in the Greek myth about seasonal change in which Persephone, the daughter of the harvest goddess Demeter, is abducted by the Lord of the Underworld. Demeter is heartbroken, neglects her duties–the earth suffers. Eventually Hades returns Persephone to her mother–but only for a part of every year because Hades has a claim on her. While she was in the Underworld, Persephone ate…some pomegranate seeds. The number she ate corresponds to the portion of every year she has to keep company with Hades, during which time Demeter mourns and the earth is barren.
Pomegranates are a lovely fruit. They make this salad pretty. Scattered about, they will do the same for a tray of hors d’oeuvres. And if you like to read about the cultural connotations of the foods you make and eat, pomegranates are lovely in this respect too-as this article by the curator of the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art in Santa Fe illustrates. It is a brief, pleasant read, and nice to think about as you sprinkle the little red seeds over the salad.
Salad of Lettuces, Mandarin oranges, Avocado and Pomegranate Seeds (for 8 people, where measures are given; proportions depend on personal taste and whether the salad is a meal or a course; in either case, lettuces are the dominant ingredient–the rest of the ingredients are accents)
- a small can of Mandarin oranges, drained
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 1 or 2 avocadoes, cut in cubes
- some cashews, browned a little in a dry pan or in a 400 F. oven for a few minutes
- some dried figs, cut in small pieces
- some pomegranate seeds
- Lettuces, torn in bite-size pieces: (Boston lettuce and arugula are used in the salad in the photos.)
- a little olive oil
1. Mix the torn lettuces and green onions in a large bowl with a little olive oil.
2. Divide the lettuces and onion among plates. Arrange avocado, cashews and bits of fig on the plates of lettuce. Spoon the Clementine vinaigrette over the salads and sprinkle them with pomegranate seeds.
Clementine Vinaigrette (for 8 salads, as a course)
- 1/2 cup of freshly-squeezed Clementine or Tangerine juice (Both fruits are members of the Mandarin family. 6 or 8 pieces of fruit will probably be about right to give this quantity of juice. If there is extra juice, freeze it in a small jar.)
- 2 Tablespoons of walnut oil
- fresh ground salt and black pepper
1. Whisk the juice and oil together. Season it with some grinds of salt and black pepper and spoon it over the salads.
A Note: This recipe is the salad course for the Dinner Menu: Dinner at Summer’s End.
© Elizabeth Laeuchli, the diplomatickitchen, 2011