The scent of pomegranate is as fascinating as its jewel box stuffed with rubies appearance. Biting into the small glossy seeds, one notices the velvety tartness, the floral sweetness, the woody sharpness of the seeds and the green powderiness of the white pith. It is an incredibly complex and appealing flavor that straddles the line between fruit and wine. In perfumery, the pomegranate is often paired with the citrus notes (Guerlain Samsara Shine, Dior Addict 2), florals (Annick Goutal Quel Amour!, Gucci Envy Me) and woods (Calvin Klein Euphoria and Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir), all of which present a great setting for the tartness of fruit.
In my flavor experiments, trying to derive more from this multifaceted note, I have decided to layer pomegranate with the green and citrusy notes, amplifying the qualities already present. The cucumber was my first choice, because it has the pleasantly crunchy texture; however, the variations with pineapple, starfruit and fennel also work really well.
The salad allows the red wine overtones of pomegranate to stand out, and it is a perfect accompaniment to the complex and dark flavors such as grilled seafood, roasted meat or vegetables. Chicken Arabie would be a great main course to serve with this salad. The burst of flavors and textures in each bite is very exciting—the crunch of sweet and tart pomegranate seeds, the chill of crushed mint leaves and the lemony verdancy of cucumber. Moreover, it looks quite striking with the ruby red berries scattered against the green mélange of cucumber and herbs. Another plus is that it takes only 5-10 minutes to put this salad together.
Pomegranate and Mint Cucumber Salad
1 medium cucumber
2 tablespoons of chopped mint
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup of pomegranate seeds
I chopped fresh mint and scallions, a combination that is already quite fascinating—pungent, green, with a cooling peppery facet. I sliced cucumber thinly and tossed it with the lemon juice, olive oil, minced herbs, salt and pepper. While cucumber was steeping in its lemony vinaigrette, I cut pomegranate in half over a big bowl. I then separated it in quarters and removed the seeds leaving the white pith behind. This step is best done wearing black clothes/apron, unless you do not mind magenta stains. Before serving the salad, I sprinkled the pomegranate seeds on top and tossed everything lightly.
Variation: substitute cucumber with pineapple, starfruit, or fresh fennel.
Photo © Bois de Jasmin.