It's not often that I'll order a salad when I'm out- salad bar salads always seem either to shiny (i.e. oily) and if I'm in a restaurant, it's never the most exciting item on the menu. So when we visited Embers Mezze Bar earlier this year, it was a good thing we ordered the banquet- or else I would never have tried the amazing cauliflower and pomegranate salad!
It's a shame the lighting was too dark to get a good photo of the original salad, but it was rather unique in flavour combination of cauliflower and pomegranate. I'm not usually a fan of cauliflower by itself, but deep-fried, it was amazingly moresish and the addition of crunchy almonds and pomegranate seeds made for an excellent textural contrast.
I'd definitely order the salad to have as a main for myself next time, but in the meantime, the folks at Embers have been kind enough to share the recipe online. The ingredients are quite simple, with the exception of fresh pomegranate and pomegranate molasses which are a little harder to find- but the salad is just not the same without these. I've roasted the cauliflower instead of deep-drying so my version is not quite as impressive in the looks department as the Embers version. But the taste is quite similar to the original, and definitely a winner in my books!
Embers Cauliflower and pomegranate salad
Recipe from of Simon Zalloua, Embers Mezze Bar via Food Wine Travel
1 tin chickpeas, drained
50 grams rocket (I substituted with baby spinach)
1/2 bunch mint
1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
2 tablespoons roast pinenuts
75 ml red wine vinegar
75 ml lemon juice
250 ml olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons sugar
- Heat oil in a deep fryer to 180 degrees C. Prepare the cauliflower in florets. Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar and shake well.
- In a large bowl, combine 1/2 the chickpeas, roughly chopped rocket, parsley and mint.
- Place the cauliflower florets in the basket of the deep fryer and cook until a nice golden colour.
- When cooked, transfer the cauliflower onto kitchen paper and pat well.
- Add the still warm cauliflower to the chickpea and rocket mix. Add enough dressing to give the salad a nice sheen without drowning it.
- Mix lightly. Arrange on a large flat plate and then scatter with fresh pomegranates and the pinenuts.
- To complete the salad, drizzle a light stream of pomegranate molasses all over for a nice sweet balance to the dish.