Monday, December 09, 2013

Christmas confetti salad

There have been two unexpected spin-offs from my post about delegating when entertaining over the festive season. First, two of the guests we were expecting for dinner on Saturday night cancelled their appearance. They claimed to be stuck in New York and unable to get back, but I have my doubts. Was it the email I sent suggesting they bring something?

Then, a few days ago, my mother-in-law sent me an email about Christmas. In the middle of what my colleague calls 'a compliment sandwich' (that's when you disarm someone by saying something nice, stick the knife in, then say something nice again) she cleverly outsourced the cooking of the turkey and the dreaming up of some salad ideas. To me.

It didn't take me long to realise that I'd been outplayed. Friends, I have so much to learn. But, after a weekend of thinking deeply about what to make, I've come up with something fresh, festive and extremely easy. Now I just have to delegate the making of it to my father-in-law.


Christmas Confetti Salad
Making this salad is the sort of job you can give someone who walks into the kitchen and says 'what can I do to help?' - on the basis that a) they have basic knife skills and b) you have delegated out all the other jobs, like washing dishes, setting the table and corralling the children/elderly relatives. As long as you're not having to do all those other things, or have had a glass of festive bubbles, it's quite soothing to stand still and do a bit of chopping. It's great with ham and turkey and tastes great the next day when you need something cold and refreshing to eat. You could also pile little mounds of it into avocado halves for a appropriately red, white and green starter.

2 pomegranates
2 red peppers
1 small red onion
4-6 small radishes
half a telegraph cucumber
a small bunch of mint, finely shredded

Dressing:
a clove of garlic, smashed
a good pinch of salt
a pinch of sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice
5 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp sumac

First, make the dressing. Crush the garlic and salt together with a knife until it forms a paste. Scrape this into a small screwtop jar, then add the lemon juice, sugar and sumac. Shake together until well mixed, then add the oil and shake again. Taste for sharpness - add more oil or lemon juice as necessary. Set aside.
Cut the pomegranates in half and scoop out the seeds. The Ottolenghi-endorsed way to do this is to bang them with a wooden spoon, but I find this squirts juice everywhere. My preferred method is to winkle the seeds out with a knife.
Chop the rest of the vegetables into pomegranate seed-sized dice. Tip everything into a bowl. Pour over the dressing, scatter over the shredded mint and stir gently to combine. Serves eight as a side dish.

For more herby, salad-y goodness, you might like to check out Karen's Cooking With Herbs round-up for December. If there's ever a time of year to eat your greens, this is it!

Cooking with Herbs

Do you delegate out parts of your Christmas dinner preparations, or do you prefer to be in sole charge?

6 comments:

  1. Sounds like an interesting salad - I am just coming round to radishes so love seeing them here and the reds and purples look very striking. I don't think that being asked for salad ideas is such a chore unless they are very picky but a turkey sounds like a challenge

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  2. This looks so Christmasy and sounds amazing. I love pomegranates in salads and have a big bowl full of them on the table, sumac too and have some in the cupboard. I'll hopefully make this within the next couple of days. I love too when everyone has a hand in the kitchen as long as I've done the main part. Although mines not very big and we can get under each others feet. One Christmas I tripped over the dishwasher door someone had left opened, somersaulted and landed on my face at the other side, breaking my nose in the process. Someone found a bag of peas in the freezer to use as cold compress. Hope nothing like that happens again.

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  3. ps I think I've managed to vote for your blog in the NetGuide web awards...hope it worked.
    dx

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  4. What a cheerful bowl of salad! I do hope you've spent the last few days compiling an email involving outsourcing all he washing up to your.... Mother in law?

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  5. This is a bit of a revelation to me. I thought that when someone said 'what can I do to help?' it meant 'I have no intention of doing anything useful - I'm just here to get in the way and hoover up any stray booze'. From now on I shall take a different approach. This is a fine and colourful salad and something colourful is just what I need in the winter.

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  6. WOW! What a FABULOUS entry into cooking with herbs for December and my spicy theme, and such lovely photos too! Thanks so much and Happy New Year! Karen

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Hello - thanks for stopping by. If this was real life I'd make you a cup of tea and open the biscuit tin, but in lieu of those things, let's have a chat anyway...

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