Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pomegranate and Potato Salad--Unexpected Combination

I would think that any potato salad is such a culinary cliché that it would not be worth paying attention to. On every salad bar menu there is at least one. But I noticed recently that somehow potato salads have been undergoing a renaissance. At least, when I have guests from Europe for BBQ dinners, potato salads are a big hit.

So when I heard about this salad I could not wait to make it, also because of its other ingredients. It sure has potatoes, but for me the most exciting element in it was pomegranate, which I absolutely love. It is one of the most picturesque fruits, always looking good on photos, and also one of the most healthy, loaded with antioxidants, Vitamin K, and iron.

The pomegranate season has just begun, so this is a very opportune time to share this recipe. I am not sure where this salad comes from, but having some knowledge of Afghan cuisine I would guess that it might have come from there, although it might as well have come from Georgia, where they also love pomegranates and coriander.

I know that pomegranate can be tricky. If they are not entirely ripe their seeds have texture similar to grape seeds and not everyone enjoys them. But most of those fruits sold here are very tasty and of that have that awesome bloody color, which indicates that they are sweet and juicy. In that case, the crunchiness of the seeds should not overshadow their taste. Thanks to pomegranates, an ordinary potato salad turns into a very interesting dish, with a sweet and sour vinous taste. It goes great with cold cuts and grilled meats.

Pomegranate and Potato Salad
(Serves 4-6)

4 large white potatoes (about a pound),
one pomegranate,
half a medium onion,
half a cup chopped fresh coriander leaves,
3 tbsp mayonnaise,
salt and pepper to taste.

1. Cut potatoes in halves and cook them in salted water until soft. Cool down and peel them off. Cut into small cubes and place in a large bowl.
2. Peel the pomegranate and using hands shuck the seeds out of the white membranes (which are inedible). Add all the seeds to the potatoes.
3. Peel onion and slice it thinly. Add to the bowl.
4. Chop the coriander. Add to the bowl.

5. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add mayonnaise and mix gently.