This salad with songino, pomegranate, pears, pine nuts and goat’s cheese (caprino) is a contrast of flavors that blend very well together. Pomegranate is certainly one of my favorite fruits of this season. This week I went to the local market and could not resist buying one.
It is delicious, whether eaten alone, used in a recipe or to prepare a fresh juice. It is very healthy, a winter super food, rich in antioxidants and nutritious compounds with anti-cancer and anti-arthritis properties. It also a good ally of your heart, it is certainly something to add to your diet. Pomegranate has been enjoyed for thousand of years and is symbol of hope and abundance. I love a few kernels of it in my champagne at New Years’ Eve! It is part of the Mediterranean culture since prehistorical ages. The name in Italian, melagrana, comes from Latin malum (mela, apple) and granatum (con i semi, with seeds).
You can serve this tasty and detoxifying salad (see more about songino) as an appertizer or, when accompanied by a slice of whole grain bread, as a light lunch.
INSALATA DI SONGINO, PERE E MELAGRANA (SONGINO, PEARS AND POMEGRANATE SALAD)
150 g (5.4 oz) songino lettuce
2 ripe Williams pears or Conference pears
8-9 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
4 tablespoons pine nuts, lightly roasted
400 g (14 oz) fresh goat’s cheese, cut in pieces
Extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
1. Wash under cold water and dry the songino
2. Seed the pomegranate (see note)
3. Peel the pears, cut into quarters and remove cores. Cut each quarter into four thin slices
4. Place equal portions of the songino on four single plates. Arrange the slices of half a pear on each plate and add 2 spoons of pomegranate seeds and 1 spoon of pine nuts. Place ¼ of the cheese on each plate. Bring olive oil and pepper to table and let each diner dress his own salad according to the Italian tradition.
Note: You can substitute fresh goat’s cheese with feta cheese.
To clean the pomegranate is much easier than you think. Here is my way:
1. Using a sharp knife, halve the pomegranate across its diameter
2. Make a small cuts in the membrane in each pomegranate half
3. Working over a bowl, just start hitting the back of the pomegranate with a wooden spoon. If this is done correctly, all the seeds should fall right out into the bowl.
This method can be a little bit messy, so work gently and avoid a wooden cutting board, because pomegranate juice does stain. You can, however, remove stains with lemon juice or white vinegar. – Paola