Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Winter Fruit Salad

I wouldn't mind enlisting a shovel for this one.  I can't get enough of it.  A clash between the exotic and everyday, it's an unexpected and interesting take on a summer favorite.  This salad is my attempt at utilizing the last of the season's fruit as we transition from autumn into winter.  After all, strawberries and watermelon just don't seem fitting this time of year.  And there's good reason for that.  A few years ago, I made a conscious decision to start eating seasonally whenever possible.  There's something very Zen about nourishing your body throughout the year.  There's a reason we eat blueberries in the summer and root vegetables in the winter.  Mother nature knows best.  Eating this way keeps me in sync; and eating this salad, keeps me happy.

This stunning festive winter salad is a heartier sort, with crunchy textures and sweet flavors.  It includes a honey crisp apple and yellow shinseiki pear, an Asian variety, that yields a very crisp and mildly sweet bite.  I highly recommend them if you see them in your travels.  The beautiful super fruit of the moment, the pomegranate, although not local, is my exotic ingredient.  The fruit is tossed with plump currants and pecans, a handful of fresh parsley, and light splash of balsamic-honey dressing.  I'm filing it under my breakfast category, but that's not to say it wouldn't make an interesting dessert as well.

The fun, or the challenge, depending on your viewpoint, is extracting the seeds from a pomegranate.  If you accomplish this without your kitchen looking like a crime scene, I'll be impressed.  Mess aside; I've grown to love pomegranates, having first encountered them on a trip in Turkey, where clumps of this softball sized fruit grew plentifully on small trees the size of shrubs.  Reveled for its beauty and recognized as a fertility symbol, I learned of its lengthy history from our tour guide.  She was a glamorous woman about my own age, with dark skin and beautiful shiny hair.  Ironically, she commented on how exotic I looked.  As a pale girl with blue eyes and freckled skin, it was the first time anyone had ever mentioned the word exotic in my presence.  Me, exotic, in Turkey.  I was flattered.  Truth be told, I'm more of the plain, vanilla, apple variety.

Pomegranates make me think of this memory and the days I spent there.  To this day, when I spot those plump beauties glistening in the store, they certainly do strike me as an exotic species sitting next to a bin of apples.  I pulled out my album and reminisced, thumbing through photos of ancient ruins, stunning backdrops of red poppy flowers, and flying storks.  Food will do that to me.  Fond memories triggered of my best friend and I in Ephesus, taking in spectacular views with our mothers.  I enjoyed a few bowls of this fruit salad with a cup of tea, nestled someone between ordinary and exotic.

~Winter Fruit Salad Recipe~

1 pomegranate, seeds extracted
1 large apple, chopped
1 large pear, chopped
3/4 cup pecans
1/3 cup currants
handful fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped

For the dressing:
2 tsp honey
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar

In a large bowl, combine pomegranate seeds, chopped apple, pear, currants, pecans, and parsley.  In a small bowl, whisk together honey, lemon juice, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar to create the dressing.  Pour the dressing over the fruit salad and toss until well combined.  Serve immediately.  You can make it up to a few hours ahead of time, but no more than that.  It's best fresh.  Serves 6.


Sarah (Snippets of Thyme) said...

What a beautiful salad with those lovely pomegranate seeds. I am learning about this incredible fruit this year. Married in Ireland! That must have been lovely and dreamy. Congratulations to you...the country totally captivated our family.

Sue/the view from great island said...

This salad looks gorgeously exotic! We used to have a pomegranate tree overhanging our backyard in California, they are truly gorgeous fruits.

Clair said...

Ohmygoodness...yummy. This looks SO good.

I love pomegranates in recipes, but I'm always afraid it will just take too long getting all the seeds out!

tori said...

So beautiful. And exactly what I need right now. Feeling just a smidge poorly- but pomegranates always manage to perk me up.

Tove said...

What an amazing salad! I just got across pomegranates yesterday and bought a few. I really look forward to try this salad. Would be great for Xmas.

Mary said...

What an exotic and colorful salad. It really is a perfect brightener for a damp and chilly day. I know I'd love this.I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

Stacy G. said...

Just found your blog - love it! Cheers!

Amy said...

Inspiring... I think you're dead right about mother nature knows best. In the midst of all this "antioxidant-this" or "lower-fat" that, the food nature provides is simple, but it's just right. Beautiful salad, Stephanie.

Elina (Healthy and Sane) said...

Wow, gorgeous colors! I want to make it this weekend - I have all the ingredients!! :)

ella@lifeologia said...

Oh my this looks amazing!
I love your blog by the way ;)

Inside a British Mum's Kitchen said...

What a super salad so refreshing and delicious. It's my first visit to your blog and I've so enjoyed it. I'm signing up to follow and looking forward to more!
mary x

Stephanie said...

Thanks for the lovely comments everyone. Nice to see some new faces stop by! :)

Shaheen said...

your winter fruit salad is lovely. I don't often like to eat salads this time of year, but this one - yum.

Stephanie said...

Thanks Shaheen, nice to meet you!

Anonymous said...

Thanks. On my way to the market now to make this salad for a party today. An easy and not very messy way to seed a pomegranate is to get a bowl of cool water, score the fruit like a pumpkin,(not too deep) and hold the fruit in the water. Tear the sections apart. The membrane will pretty much just float to the top and the seeds will sink.

Stephanie said...

Glad you're trying it out. That's a great tip! Thanks for sharing! I've never heard of that.

Sarah said...

I made this on Thanksgiving and it was delicious! My whole family enjoyed it.