This recipe comes from Thomasina Miers’ fab book, Mexican Food Made Simple. We have been cooking recipes from the book for years, we love Thomasina’s recipes & her attitude to eating. It is testament to how delicious this dish is that I still eat it regularly about 4 years after first trying it. Normally I get tired of things and always want to try something new but this salad is too good to forget.
The thing which makes it a stand out for me is the complexity. That is, complexity of flavour – it is not hard to make. The spiced nuts with sweet dressing, tangy cheese and bursts of freshness from the herbs and the juicy pomegranate are just so mooreish. I always eat this quickly even though it is cold & I could take my time I always end up shovelling it in my mouth like a pig cos I can’t get enough of it.
I have made one tiny change to the recipe by adding pomegranate molasses to make the dressing a little bit sweet/sour. It is not necessary though. This can be ready pretty quickly as the only thing to cook is the nuts. The rest of the prep can easily be done while they are in the oven. I often make a double batch of the spiced pecans as they keep for a few weeks & I eat this regularly. They also make a delicious snack on their own.
Spiced Pecan & Goats Cheese Salad with Pomegranate
Ingredients (serves 2):
50g pecan nuts
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
5 allspice berries
1/4 tsp coriander seeds
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of cayenne or other hot chilli powder
1 tsp icing sugar
2 tsp olive oil
50g tangy goats cheese
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp pomegranate molasses
250g salad – rocket & some bitter leaves (chicory or something similar)
a handful of basil leaves
a few chopped chives
salt & pepper
Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees
1. To prepare the spiced nuts, toast the whole spices and crush them into a fine powder. Add these to the other spices, salt, icing sugar and finally the olive oil. Mix to a thick paste. Toss the nuts in the paste and scatter them onto a roasting tray. Put them into the heated oven & roast them until golden. It takes around 12-15 minutes. Keep an eye on them towards the end as they burn easily.
2. To make the dressing you need to extract the seeds from the pomegranate & separate them from any juice which comes out. To a tablespoon of the pomegranate juice add the olive oil, balsamic, pomegranate molasses & a pinch of salt & pepper. Give them a vigorous mix & check the flavour, it should be a sweet/slightly sour dressing.
3. To assemble the salad put everything except the cheese into a bowl and toss in the salad dressing. You may not need it all so add about half and then more if needed.