November 18, 2009

Pomegranate Wild Rice Salad

3 tablespoons pomegranate juice or PAMA
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar

2 cups cooked wild rice, cooled
1 cup thinly sliced fennel
1 cup pomegranate arils
1 shallot, very thinly sliced
1 stalk celery, very thinly sliced

Whisk together the vinaigrette in a small bowl. Set aside. Toss together the salad ingredients. Stir in vinaigrette. Serve at room temperature.

Quick Tips: If you have one, a mandoline makes quick work of thinly slicing the vegetables. I bought this inexpensive mandoline last year and it works well.

I like to make the wild rice for this salad the day before. Refrigerate it then fluff it with a fork before adding the remaining ingredients.

My thoughts:
This is a great late autumn or winter salad. Pomegranates are at their peak and fennel is widely available. A lot of recipes call for mixing wild rice (which actually isn't rice at all but a kind of marsh grass) with long grain rice but I prefer it by itself, especially in a salad. I love how the nutty flavor and chewy texture contrasts with the juicy pomegranate and crisp vegetables. I love the burst of flavor the arils provide. While I like it as a side salad, it is hearty enough to serve as main dish.