As I mentioned in my previous post, for the past few holidays, my family has been making a conscious effort to shake up our usual holiday menu, which we had come to expect to be the exact same at every single major holiday. With Christmas hosted at my house every year, my mom has a lot on her plate, setting everything up and doing double duty...er make that at least triple duty, making several dishes to contribute to the massive pot luck holiday feast. Because she already has so much to worry about on Christmas, she kept some of her dishes the same (mmm no problem there, we would all miss her scalloped potatoes if they got switched up!) and had me help out a little with her switched up dish. My mom loves brainstorming new recipes, playing around with different flavours and textures in her mind to come up with the perfect balance. She always begins her brainstorming with one or two ingredients as her inspiration, and then lets her imagination and taste buds take over from there. Weeks and weeks ago, as my mom and I sat on the couch popping pomegranate seeds into our mouth like they were going out of style, inspiration struck as she pointed out the stunning ruby red colour of the seeds. Immediately she knew she wanted to create the perfect Christmas salad starring the beautiful pomegranate seed. She started listing the other ingredients as it came into her head; brie, candied pecans, balsamic, etc. and a star...I mean a salad was born!
To save time come Christmas eve, the day before I removed all of the pomegranate seeds and stored them in a tupperware container in the fridge so my mom could just sprinkle them into the salad when it came time for serving. The day before I also took care of candying the pecans using an awesome and easy recipe that my mom showed me from Bon Appétit on Epicurious. She was drawn to this recipe as it mimicked one of the major flavours she had planned on putting in the dressing, balsamic vinegar. The pecans are coated and lightly toasted in a sticky and sweet balsamic vinegar mixture that leaves your pecans so tasty, you may have to lock them up until serving time to make sure you don't eat them all on their own! I was happy I didn't eat them all (of course I had to sneak a few!) when I finally tasted the completed salad, as the pecans were one of my favourite parts of the salad, adding texture and a great rich flavour to each bite. The pecans were contrasted by the smooth and creamy double cream brie, zesty red onions, and the juicy pomegranate seeds bursting as your teeth break the surface, adding a tangy sweetness to the balsamic dressing. Christmas dinner was amazing, and there were so many fantastic dishes, but I've gotta say, my hands-down favourites for the evening were my Wild Mushroom Baked Brie and my moms Mixed Greens with Pomegranate Seeds, Brie and Balsamic Candied Pecans! After going up for seconds, and maybe even thirds of the salad on Christmas, I was still so excited to see that there were leftovers the next day. Can you believe, even hours later, after the dressing had slightly wilted the mixed greens, the salad was still so freaking delicious my mom and I devoured it in a matter of moments, only stopping to comment on how delicious it was and...ummm...remind me to write about it on my blog...haha no need for a reminder mummy, I still can't get your amazing salad out of my mind! You did good!
about 10 ounces mixed greens, washed and dried
about 100 g double cream brie, cut into medium-sized chunks
1/4 small red onion, sliced
1 pomegranate, seeds removed
Balsamic Candied Pecans (see recipe below)
Your favourite balsamic vinaigrette, to dress
1. In a large salad bowl, toss the mixed greens with the brie, red onion, pomegranate seeds, and Balsamic Candied Pecans. Drizzle in just enough balsamic vinaigrette to coat greens. Serve immediately.
Balsamic Candied Pecans
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1/4 cup (packed) brown sugar
6 tbsp olive oil
1 cup pecan halves, coarsely chopped
1. Spray sheet of foil with nonstick spray. Stir sugar, olive oil and 1 tablespoon vinegar in heavy medium skillet over medium heat until sugar melts and syrup bubbles, about 3 minutes. Mix in Pecans. Stir until nuts are toasted and syrup coats nuts evenly, about 7 minutes. Turn nuts out onto prepared foil. Using fork, separate nuts and cool completely. Sprinkle into salad.
Fiona Apple - Criminal
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