Monday, December 8, 2014

Fennel, Orange and Pomegranate Salad with Sumac

Winter is the peak season for fennel and there is an abundance of them in the stores. Been trying to eat them as often as possible - in salads, roasted, and in a soup. Jamie Oliver has a carrot and fennel soup which is delicious.  This salad is similar to my fennel and citrus salad which I posted earlier, but the addition of the pomegranates and sumac, marash pepper and fresh red chili in the dressing gives it a twist. Had a friend for lunch and served it to her - she loved it. The sweetness of the oranges is well balanced by the tang of the sumac and the fragrant marash peppers. Unlike cayenne, Marash pepper do not have a lot of heat. Hence it works well sprinkled on the salad.

Fennel, Orange and Pomegranate Salad with Sumac

1/2 bulb of a large fennel
One navel orange
1/2 cup pomegranate arils
1 teaspoon thinly sliced fresh red chili

1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
Salt to taste

1/2 teaspoon sumac
1/4 teaspoon crushed marash pepper or more to taste

  1. Trim the fronds of the fennel bulb and the hard stems on top. Using a mandoline, thinly slice the fennel. If you do not have a mandoline, slice it as thinly as possible using a sharp knife.
  2. Peel the orange with a paring knife and separate into segments. If you find this difficult then, just peel the orange and slice it into 1/4" thin circles.
  3. Make the dressing with the olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. 
  4. Toss the salad gently with the dressing. Sprinkle the pomegranate arils and the sumac and marash pepper onto the salad.
  5. Serve at room temperature.
Serves 2.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Cheese tortellini with watercress and pistachio pesto

Watercress in a wonderful mildly peppery green typically used in salads or sandwiches. You might have seen them in a egg salad sandwich on multigrain bread (great combination). Made into a pesto with green peas and pistachio, it makes a great sauce for a pasta. The peas balances the peppery taste of the the watercress and the pistachio gives it great body and a little crunch. Since I am using cheese tortellini, I haven't added Parmesan to the pesto, but you could definitely add it if you were using the pesto for a plain pasta. I add fresh lemon juice at the end to perk up the dish.

Tortellini with watercress and pistachio pesto

 For the pesto
3 oz watercress
1 scant cup petite frozen peas (organic preferred)
1/4 cup shelled unsalted pistachio
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
A few grinds of fresh black pepper
  1. Blanch  the frozen peas in boiling water for a few minutes. Drain and add it to all the ingredients for the pesto in the food processor. Blitz till the mixture forms a paste.
Makes about 1 cup

For the Tortellini
4 cups cheese tortellini
  1. Boil as per the instructions on the package. When done, drain and apportion them in individual serving bowls.
  2. Add the pesto to the warm pasta. Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
Serves 4