Friday, January 11, 2008

Pomegranate, feta, cucumber and mint salad

There are exactly 840 seeds in a pomegranate. I didn't know that, which probably explains why it took me nearly a whole morning to extract each jewel separately and eat them one by one when I was a small child. We had a pomegranate tree growing near our front gate, where I would sit for hours patiently waiting for my older brother and sister to come home from school, just so they could "play schools" with me, much to their protests. Red stained fingers, mouth and clothing were part of my everyday appearance back then. And unbelievably, I never had a pomegranate again, that is until last night. The Persian fruit has now come back into vogue, after all of these years, probably due to the newfound health benefits of the juice, with the same antioxidant benefits as red wine, assisting in curbing the progression of fatty deposits on the artery walls.

In my planting frenzy in late spring, for some reason I felt that I needed to plant 3 cucumber seedlings. I have no idea why I did such a stupid thing, because now, along with the zucchinis, I have more than I can possibly use. As much as I love fresh, crunchy cucumbers, you can only eat so many. I have the liberty of picking them when they are small, because there will always be at least another dozen ready the next day.

So a Middle Eastern themed salad is created - pomegranates originating from Persia, creamy Persian feta and beautiful purple/red sumac.

Pomegranate, feta, cucumber and mint salad

2 pomegranates

200g feta (Persian if you can find it)

2 Lebanese cucumbers, diced small

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

1/3 cup mint leaves, roughly chopped

1/3 cup coriander leaves, roughly chopped

2 tsp sumac (optional) - a middle eastern spice which imparts a tangy citrus flavour

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

3 tbsp extra-virgin

olive oil



Break open pomegranates and remove seeds. Crumble feta into largish pieces. Combine seeds, feta, cucumbers, onion and herbs in a large bowl.

To serve

When ready to serve add the sumac, vinegar, oil and salt and toss to combine. Best served cold.

If anyone has any tips on how to get pomegranate juice stains out of a white blouse, I'd be grateful to hear from you. Seems I have done a full life circle again!

Kalyn's Weekend Herb Blogging is kindly hosted this week by Vani from Batasari. Check out her blog for some great Indian dishes.


Kalyn said...

Sounds very wonderful. This has all the flavors I like. (I'm not sure I've had Persian feta, and now I want to try it.)

Arfi Binsted said...

that looks wonderful!!

Bellini Valli said...

I have just discovered sumac. We have wild sumac trees growing all over Canada. I wonder if it is the same type of bush that the dried sumac comes from. Probably not or we would have sumac just as we have maple syrup. All the fresh veggies and feta have me craving for a salad of my own!!

Pam said...

Hi Kalyn,
The Persian feta has a rich, creamy consistency, a bit like goats cheese. I just adore it, but it is quite hard to get where I come from, and I have to wait to go to a larger city to buy it. I hope you do get to try it one day.

Pam said...

Thanks Arfi, it actually tasted better than it looks.

Pam said...

Hi Bellini, I'm not sure about the wild sumac trees offering the equivalent to this spice, as the berries come from a dedicated species, so I think your guess is correct. The combination of flavours was refreshing, and it's a different way to use up the abundance of cucumbers I presently have.

Peter M said...

DESPITE you not using Greek feta, this salad looks & sounds delicious.

We'll have to hold off on the wedding! lol

Pam said...

Hi Peter, thanks for the forward notification of the postponement! I'll let the caterers know:)
I do love Greek feta though, and will try and post a recipe soon that gives it the justice it deserves. Hope you get a chance to try this salad.