Salad of pickled roscoff onions, Romanesco & pomegranate

A great vegetarian dish that is moreish, healthy and can be prepared in a matter of minutes. To get all the seeds from a pomegranate, just cut in half across the middle, hold cut-side down over a bowl and bash with the side of a wooden spoon. Make sure you are wearing an apron or an old top as red juice goes everywhere! Most of the seeds will fall out. Any that don’t, just peel back the pith and extract manually. Pickled items are something chefs seem to incorporate in their cooking more than domestic cooks, adding a welcome pop of spritely acidity. Here, the onions are lightly pickled and this forms the basis of the dressing. The key to a nicely pickled onion is a quick blanch to keep the texture crisp, yet enough to lose the raw onion taste. Roscoff onions and any red onions or shallots for that matter always transform into an amazing colour once they come into contact with the vinegar. As much as we enjoy hearty braised dishes at the moment, it is also nice now and then to have something vibrant and fresh such as this in the colder months. This would be delicious with some goat’s cheese, grilled merguez or both.

2 tbsp   White wine vinegar

3 tbsp   Water

1 tbsp   Caster sugar

1 tsp     Salt

½         Lemon, grated zest & juice

1          Garlic clove, minced

3 tbsp   Olive oil

 

1          Roscoff onions, thinly sliced

 

1/2       Romanesco head, chopped

5 tbsp   Mixed nuts, such as pine nuts & pistachios, lightly toasted (a mix or just one variety)

3 tbsp   Mixed herbs, roughly chopped, such as mint, parsley & coriander (a mix or just one variety)

1          Pomegranate, seeds of

 

-           Bring the water, vinegar, sugar and salt to the boil, then remove from the heat and add the lemon and garlic. Pour into a bowl.

 

-           Blanch the onion in boiling water for just 30 secs – 1 min (depending on how thinly they are sliced): crisp in texture but no longer tasting of raw onion. At this point, drain with a slotted spoon and place into the pickling liquor.

 

-           Blend the romanesco in a food processor until it resembles couscous.

 

-           Add the olive oil to the onions in pickle, then mix in the romanesco, nuts, herbs & pomegranate seeds. Check seasoning and serve at room temperature.

 


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