Spinach-Pomegranate Salad

Last weekend Doug and I were in Naples, Florida, where we
attended a beautiful outdoor wedding overlooking rows of yachts and
mini-mansions.

The night before the wedding, we were on our own, so the two of
us strolled through tony downtown Naples looking a spot for dinner. We found a restaurant called Bha! Bha! Persian Bistro, and wandered in. 
Our young, enthusiastic server, Cayan, very
professionally described several of the evening’s specials. When we inquired
about a few of the menu options, he was impressed with our knowledge of the cuisine.
We mentioned that we are Armenian and told him about our website, to which he
replied, “My grandmother was Armenian!”

Needless to say, we became fast
friends.
Spinach-Pomegranate Salad

To start, Doug and I split a Spinach-Pomegranate
salad, which was as tasty as it was eye-appealing.



For the main course, Doug enjoyed Ginger Apricot Shrimp,
while I did my best to finish the Persian Style Seafood Paella. We capped
off our meal with vanilla ice cream studded with pistachio nuts, drizzled with
rose water, and garnished with  slivers of fresh mint. We washed it all down
with Persian tea and coffee – both enhanced with cardamom.

Although the restaurant didn’t share
their salad recipe with us, it was easy to figure out the main components.

For a visually appealing, and extremely tasty dish, why
not add the spinach-pomegranate salad to your Lenten recipe collection?

Spinach
– Pomegranate Salad
Serves 2 to 4

Salad
Ingredients
:
4 cups fresh, small, young spinach leaves, washed
¼ cup dried apricots, coarsely chopped
¼ cup dried figs, coarsely chopped
½ cup grape tomatoes, cut in half
1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 English (seedless) cucumber, cut in half lengthwise and thinly cut into half circles
1 medium Golden Delicious, or Granny Smith apple, cored and thinly
sliced
Garnishes: ¼
cup pomegranate arils; ¼ cup pistachio nuts, coarsely chopped; ¼ cup Feta or Gorgonzola
cheese, optional

Directions:
In a large serving bowl, toss together the salad
ingredients.

To
serve
: Dress with vinaigrette (recipe follows). Garnish with
pomegranate arils, pistachio nuts, and Feta or Gorgonzola cheese, if desired.

Pomegranate
Vinaigrette Ingredients
:
 (NOTE: The vinaigrette can be made a day
in advance. Whisk before using.)
    2 tsp. minced garlic
    1 tablespoon
pomegranate molasses (see Notes)
    1 tablespoon
balsamic vinegar
    2 teaspoons
lemon juice
    2 teaspoons
finely chopped tarragon
    1/4 teaspoon
kosher salt
    1/4 cup
extra-virgin olive oil
    2 teaspoons
water

Vinaigrette
Directions
:
Mix garlic, pomegranate molasses, vinegar, lemon juice,
tarragon and salt in a small bowl. Whisk in 1/4 cup oil, then water.

Notes from EatingWell.com:
1. Pomegranate molasses has a bright, tangy flavor.
(Don’t confuse it with grenadine syrup, which contains little or no pomegranate
juice.) Find it in Middle Eastern markets and some large supermarkets near the
vinegar or molasses.
 2. To make your own Pomegranate Molasses:
Simmer 4 cups pomegranate juice, uncovered, in a medium
nonreactive saucepan over medium heat until thick enough to coat the back of a
spoon, 45 to 50 minutes. (Do not let the syrup reduce too much or it will
darken and become very sticky.)
Makes about 1/2 cup. Refrigerate in an airtight container
for up to 3 months.
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