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Saturday, December 5, 2009

Recipe: Pomegranate Molasses Vinaigrette

Pomegranate Molasses Vinaigrette
by Victoria Challancin

I encountered pomegranate molasses when I first moved to the Arabian Gulf in 1975.  Exotic, enticing, something totally new to me...we became immediate and lifelong friends.  During the twenty-two years I have lived in Mexico, I have kept my pantry stocked with hard-to-find Middle Eastern ingredients such as dried black limes, powdered sumac, za'atar spice blend, and, of course, pomegranate molasses only by returning from visits to ethnic grocery stores I frequent when traveling.  And since I only use ingredients that I can find locally in my cooking classes, I had to keep these treasures for strictly personal use.  You can imagine how delighted I was to find some of these ingredients suddenly available here in San Miguel de Allende, where I live. [Note to local readers:  pomegranate molasses is now available at Luna de Queso, a truly excellent source for so many ingredients and artisan cheeses, located on Ancha de San Antonio in front of the Telmex office].

When friends came to a vaguely-themed Middle Eastern dinner recently, I tossed together a vinaigrette using pomegranate molasses for a salad of organic lettuces, yellow bell pepper, tiny organic yellow tomatoes, onion, and pomegranate seeds.  Unfortunately, the photo was taken at night with a flash, but I think you will get the idea.  Pomegranate molasses is both sweet and sour, concentrated and rich.  For this salad I added a touch of agave nectar and a squeeze of lemon.  Variations, depending on what you are serving it with, are boundless.  Try adding a bit of fresh ginger, chile, pistachio or walnuts, or mustard.  Change the vinegars--raspberry, balsamic fig, sherry, or red wine would all be nice.  Nut oils would also be great with this.  I am posting an approximation, as all vinaigrettes are, as the cook is always going to tinker with it to get the desired balance of flavors. 

This vinaigrette would make a nice glaze for seafood.  And it positively shines in salads made with couscous, quinoa, and bulgur wheat.  Fruits go with it as well:  apples, pears, avocado, persimmons, citrus.

Pomegranate Molasses Vinaigrette Recipe
by Victoria Challancin

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses 
2 tablespoons unflavored rice vinegar
1 tablespoon agave nectar or honey
A squeeze of fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground sumac 
Sea salt and fresh pepper to taste

Place ingredients in a bowl.  Beat with a fork or whisk until emulsified and smooth.  Taste and adjust seasonings according to personal preferences. 


©Victoria Challancin.  All Rights Reserved



jennifer rose said...

This has become my default salad dressing! It's so good that I want to drink it straight up.

Victoria at Flavors of the Sun said...

So glad to hear it, Jennifer. I love it as well.