Shirazi Cucumber and Pomegranate Salad
Shiraz is the Persian city of poets and the closest to the tribal regions of Iran, where my inspiration for this salad originated. This salad is a favorite throughout the Silk Road region and can be found, with slight variations, in almost every country there. Editor’s note: Shiraz was one of the three main cities where Iran’s 100,000 Jews lived prior to the revolution in 1979. Before that time, Jews had lived in Persia continuously for over 3,000 years.
- 1 small onion, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 cup pitted olives
- 2 long seedless cucumbers
- 6 pickling cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 medium pomegranates, seeded (2 cups)
- 4 cups shredded greens, frisée, arugula or lettuce
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate paste or molasses
- ¼ teaspoon red hot pepper flakes or ¼ teaspoon chili paste
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup olive oil
- ½ cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
- ½ cup feta cheese, crumbled (optional)
- Place the onion slices in a sieve, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon salt and leave for 10 minutes (to remove any tang from the onion). Rinse with cold water, blot dry and set aside. If you use red onion, this salting process to remove the tang is unnecessary. Combine the onion, olives, cucumber and pomegranate seeds in a serving bowl and set aside.
- To make the salad dressing, thoroughly mix all the salad dressing ingredients. Pour the dressing over the salad, toss well and adjust seasoning to taste. Serve individually on a bed of the greens and garnish with walnuts and cheese. This salad goes particularly well with rice or pasta.
- Shirazi Cucumber and Pomegranate Salad recipe and photo from Silk Road Cooking: A Vegetarian Journey, by Najmieh Batmanglij © 2000, 2014 www.mage.com