Watercress, pomegranate and parmesan salad

10 December 2011 § 12 Comments

I’ve always had a fascination for pomegranates. Their ordinary, almost dull, exterior hiding their inner beauty of tiny glistening garnet jewels. It amazes me how many of those translucent ruby arils are packed tightly into one compact ball.

I have fond memories of eating them at my grandmother’s house. As the winter nights would draw in I would sit in her cozy living room cross-legged on a round swirly-patterned, shaggy rug with a long fringe. In the warmth of a gas fire I would pick out the arils with a pin. This activity would keep me busy for a very long time I would not stop until every single one was plucked out.

My grandmother must have been onto something as she is alive and well in Wales, at the grand old age of 103.

This festive salad is teeming with goodness, plenty of antioxidants and nutrients. It is very quick to make just needing a bit of assembly. The Ladies™ love the colors in it and the contrast in textures – the creamy avocado and the crunchy pomegranate.

The dressing is easy but the pomegranate molasses gives it a more complex jammy flavor, and make it seem a bit more special than an ordinary vinaigrette. If you don’t have any in your cupboard I suggest you treat yourself to a bottle, you won’t regret it. As well as adding to salad dressings, it makes a great marinade for meat or tofu, and it lasts for ages.

Ingredients – serves 2

  • Watercress – as much as you think you need
  • ½ pomegranate
  • 1 avocado – chopped
  • A few shavings of Parmesan or Pecorino (use a potato peeler to get a thin shaving)
  • 1 tbsp Pomegranate molasses
  • 1/3 cup Balsamic vinegar
  • 2/3 olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


Wash and spin the watercress. Arrange ingredients on a plate.

Make the dressing by mixing the vinegar and molasses, gradually whisk in the olive oil, taste as you go and make any adjustments to the quantity. Dress the salad then eat.

Don’t write off pomegranates as being too labor-intensive, they can be – picture seven-year-old me picking them out with a pin. But it does not have to be that painstakingly slow, here are a few easy way to get those red arils out of the pomegranate quickly:

  • Freezing the entire fruit also makes it easier to separate.
  • Cut the pomegranate in half, score each half of the exterior rind four to six times, hold the pomegranate half over a bowl and smack the rind with a large spoon, sounds like fun right? The arils should pop directly into the bowl, leaving only a dozen or so stubborn embedded ones
  • To separating from the inedible pulp, place the red arils in a bowl of water, the arils sink and the inedible pulp floats


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