CLEMENTINE, ROAST RED ONION, LAMBS LETTUCE, PARMESAN & POMEGRANATE MOLASSES SALAD.
I was recently contacted by the family owned cafe ‘Printworks Kitchen’ in Clerkenwell, to come up with a warm Winter salad to add to their menu. The only stipulations being that the ingredients should be seasonal and available locally.
Looking at their current menus, the salads they like to serve are typically aimed at local workers wishing to take their lunch away and enjoy it at their desks. The offerings tend to have three or four ingredients, keeping them simple yet delicious. Few, if any, contain fish or meat as I imagine this makes it harder to keep to the clean, healthy guideline and an agreeable price structure.
I’ve also had to take into account that this recipe, unlike my usual blog posts where I cook for between one and four, will have to be created in bulk to serve many customers and so should be simple enough to prepare each morning without their chefs eventually cursing my name.
My immediate thought when looking at the ingredients was Clementines. They are perfectly in season right now and have a great festive quality bringing in that eager anticipation of Christmas not being too far away. Each year I over indulge in Clementines leaving me thinking I really really should eat more fruit. Come January in my Christmas dinner and chocolate coma I quickly forget, but the inspiration is at least there.
I’ve used Lambs Lettuce as it’s a winter leaf and holds flavour from a dressing superbly well. Roasted red onion gives warmth and texture along with a splash of rich colour to the plate. Pomegranate along with the clementines add wonderful sweetness and the crumbly texture of parmesan combined with its subtle acidity works really well to bind all of the flavours together.
This recipe is obviously geared towards the Printworks way of serving, but at home it would work as a side on boxing day to brighten up a plate of greying leftovers. Or at any time alongside a main meal, grilled chicken, steak or lamb chops would be ideal.
60g lambs lettuce (one typical supermarket salad bag)
1 red onion
2 medium to large clementines
4 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
half a teaspoon of caster sugar
Preheat your oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6. Peel your onion, top and tail it before slicing through the middle vertically and chop into small wedges. Throw them in a baking tray with a drizzle of balsamic and olive oil, then roast them in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Peel your clementines, pull them apart into two halfs and then slice horizontally so you get a cross section of the segments in a row.
For your dressing: de-seed your pomegranate, putting one half of the seeds to one side. Blend the other half until as much of the juice has been removed as possible. Sieve out the white pith and combine the juice with the rest of the unblended seeds, the oil, vinegar and sugar. If you are making it in bulk you could substitute the fresh half pomegranate with a few tablespoons of pomegranate juice from a carton
Once my onion has cooled I let it cool a little, warm salads can often end up with cooked lettuce which is less than desirable. The onion can be equally be served cold as it is just as delicious.
I’ve arranged my salad by placing the Lambs lettuce on a platter, intertwining the clementine shapes and onion wedges. Take a horizontal peeler across the edge of the parmesan to create nice thin strips, this helps to showcase the cheeses crumbly texture. For larger servings, feel free to sub the parmesan for a more cost effective grana padano or a similar hard, crumbly cows cheese. Like Cava to Champagne, there are fantastic parmesan alternatives and most people won’t spot the difference.
Drizzle your pomegranate seeds and molasses over the top of your salad and voila!: One delcious warm winter salad.
This recipe was created for the Printworks Kitchen a Clerkenwell cafe owned by Supercity Aparthotels, a group of London-based serviced apartments. Hopefully the lovely folks at Printworks are delighted with the offering but why not drop in on them for a salad or a cup of coffee.
You can find them at: Printworks Kitchen, 20-26 Rosebery Avenue, London. EC1R 4SX