WHO’S READY FOR THE HOLIDAYS?! Well you can’t be; not until you’ve tried this kale and pomegranate salad. You get an aril! And you get an aril! See how excited I am about this bowl o’ red and green? And it’s for good reason! Pomegranates are delicious and beautiful fruits. They are also the namesake of the picturesque Spanish town in which my brother studied abroad (and yes, he chose it because he liked the fruit), see Granada. Anyway, back to business.
The edible parts of a pomegranate are its jewel-like seeds called arils. The outside of each seed is juicy and rigidly holds its form unlike another juicy fruit like say, an orange, which will squirt you in the eye at every opportunity. Once you’ve bitten through the juice, you hit the hard seed but fear not, because it will break into bits upon chewing. Arils are completely addictive and after de-seeding my first pom of the season I proceeded to eat the entire fruit’s worth of seeds in one standing just because they’re so fun to chomp. So given how fresh this fruit is, I wanted to make either a fruit or regular salad to highlight and compliment its freshness, not diminish it or dry it out by baking into cookies or something.
Enter: daily waffle’s Kale, Asian Pear, and Pomegranate Salad. It is awesome. You know what was not awesome? My Asian pear. It was watery, had zero flavor, and was so hard it was difficult to chew. Thus, immediately after trying a piece I chucked that sucker into the trash and decided to move forward with the recipe anyway, despite how wonderful the addition of pear to a kale salad sounded. If you’re up for it, buy a bosc, comice, or other ripe pear and cut that up to use in place of the Asian pear. Unless of course your Asian-pear-picking skills are fabulous, then by all means make the recipe as it is written.
Ok, so the dressing is really easy, just whisk all the ingredients together and you’re good to go. I found the early step of massaging salt into the dry leaves completely pointless as it just falls to the bottom so just forget that. And as usual, I used curly instead of lacinato kale again due to my bug aversion. Last week I found a tiny, very-much-alive slug on the back of one of my lacinato leaves and that was the end of that. My substitution involves somewhat OCD washing* of the curly leaves, followed by roughly ripping them into smaller pieces and drying them. After the leaves are ready and the dressing is mixed, do as you did with the last kale salad and get in there with your hands to massage the dressing into the leaves and ensure an even coating. When you’re ready to serve, pretend it’s New Years Eve and liberally cover the salad greens in aril-confetti.
The salad is dressed for the season, tastes quite unique among kale salads thanks to the rice wine vinegar and ginger, lasts about two days after being dressed so it can be made ahead of the holiday madness, and provides a truly healthy and fresh counterpoint to all the heavy, baked food being shoved in your face this time of year. Now go out, buy some kale and pomegranate, and prepare for an onslaught of compliments on your tasty and holiday-color-appropriate salad-making skills.
*I like to wash each individual leaf, rip them off the stems/away from the tough inner-vein, then swish the leaves around in a water-filled bowl, and finish by drying the leaves in a salad spinner.