I don't know about you, but for me it's round about this stage of winter that the blues really start to set in. It's mid-winter and I've pretty much had enough of scraping the ice off the windscreen of my car every morning; the joy and novelty of winter boots, coats, hats and scarves is wearing thin; and if I see another root vegetable I'm going to scream!!
As you already know, if you stop by here on a regular basis, my meal of choice nine times out of ten will usually be a salad of some sort. This of course can get a bit challenging in the middle of winter when so many of the ingredients we normally put into salads are out of season.
It's Secret Recipe Club week again, and this month I was assigned to Bewitching Kitchen, hosted by the lovely Sally. Born and raised in Brazil, Sally's work as a biochemist has seen her live for a number of years in California and Paris, and currently in Manhatten. Sally has a great sense of humour, which entertains us all at SRC on a regular basis, and that humour infuses the literally hundreds of posts which you will find on her blog.
Of course, I headed straight to the salad section of Sally's recipe index, and as soon as I saw "Green Olive, Walnut and Pomegranate Salad" I knew I had found my dish. No seasonal ingredients required (well, there is pomegranate, but I always keep a stash of pomegranate seeds in the freezer, so no problem there), and sounded like a great combination of ingredients and textures.
I made only minimal changes to the recipe, to suit what I had on hand, and I was not disappointed. I subbed in almonds for the walnuts, as that's what I had in the pantry, and I included the zest from the lemon that was juiced for the dressing. This salad delivered on every level - brininess of the olives, crunch of the nuts and pomegranate seeds, little bit of sweet and sour from the pomegranate molasses, and citrus zing of lemon.
I loved this so much I made it twice within a few days. The first time I served it in these lettuce cups - it was delicious to roll the salad up in the lettuce leaves, burrito-style - alongside slabs of fried haloumi cheese for a light lunch. More recently this was a great accompaniment to some pan-seared monkfish. This would also be great with roasted chicken.
Other dishes I found on Sally's blog which I can't wait to try are Pumpkin Shrimp Curry, a traditional Brazilian Shrimp Moqueca, and these amazing looking Black Pepper Cashews.
Interested to know a little bit more about Secret Recipe Club? Then let me explain. The club has over a hundred members, divided into four groups, and each month one member is assigned (in secret) to another member from their group. That person then selects a recipe (or more) to make, photograph, and prepare a blog post - all in secret. Then everyone in the group posts their recipe on the same day, and of course the secret is then out. It's a always a thrill to find out who has posted something from your own blog, and is a great way to meet and discover some new blogs. If you are a food blogger and interested in joining the Secret Recipe Club, be sure to check out the Join SRC page.
Green Olive, Almond & Pomegranate Salad Recipe
Adapted from this recipe
from Bewitching Kitchen
Click here for a printable copy of this recipe
1/2 cup natural almonds
1/2 cup raw cashew nuts
1/2 cup pitted green olives, roughly chopped
seeds of 1/2 a pomegranate
1x green chilli, finely chopped
large handful flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1x lemon, zest and juice
2x tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1x tablespoon pomegranate molasses
flaky sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
Place almonds and cashews into a dry frying pan, and set over low heat. Toast until golden brown. Remove from heat, cool and chop roughly.
Place olives, pomegranate seeds, chilli, parsley and grated lemon zest in a bowl. Add the chopped nuts, and mix all ingredients together well.
Drizzle over the lemon juice, olive oil, and pomegranate molasses. Season with sea salt and black pepper. Mix once again to combine everything well. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking.
If time permits, allow salad to stand for an hour or two for the flavours to fully blend and develop.
I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I did, and visit the links below to check out all the other great dishes my Secret Recipe Club friends made.