alf ruman wa ruman 2: salad for dessert

(Part two of a series detailing a pomegranate-themed meal; see part one here.)

And no, I don’t mean salad as dessert because it happens to occur after the main course; I mean salad as dessert because it is sweet and crunchy and chocolate-y.

There’s a bit of a kick to this – sumac and cucumber give a hint of fattoush – but a chocolate balsamic and a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds leave no doubt that this is no ordinary salad (one might say 3ajib wa gharib…).

eat your vegetables or you'll get no dessert
eat your vegetables or you’ll get no dessert

Strange and Wondrous Salad for Dessert

You will need:

3 cucumbers, sliced into 1/4-inch medallions then halved
A head of lettuce, washed and torn into strips (tearing > cutting when it comes to leafy greens; you are less likely to cut against the grain of the leaf and it will stay crispier for longer)
Large handful of pomegranate seeds
1/4 cup lemon juice
Splash of orange flower water
Splash of red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp sumac
1/2 tsp salt & dash of pepper
A small bar of good dark chocolate
1/8 to 1/4 cup balsamic vinaigrette
1/4 cup olive oil

if you cannot buy your pickles from the market like the first lady of baghdad, you will just have to make your own
if you cannot buy your pickles from the market like the first lady of baghdad, you will just have to make your own

First you’ll want to flash-pickle your cucumbers in lemon juice, vinegar, orange flower water, salt, pepper, and sumac in a bowl. Set them aside; it’s ideal if they have an hour or two to get acquainted, and if you give them a good shake every 20-30 minutes or so to make sure the liquid gets distributed evenly.

Shortly before you’re ready to serve, melt the chocolate in a double boiler (a small saucepan and a Pyrex liquid measuring cup work great) and stir in the balsamic.

Drain the cucumbers and reserve the vinegar-lemon juice mixture; toss them into the lettuce with a drizzle of olive oil and a drizzle of the reserved vinegar-lemon juice, add the pomegranates and mix it all up. Finally, drizzle with generous quantities of chocolate balsamic (pre- or post-plating, but post- makes for a cleaner presentation…)

just a hint of pickle
just a hint of pickle

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