Date palms are intrinsic to Sukkot, both for the use of their fronds in the lulav and for their fruits. Sunflowers and pomegranates are indigenous to the area where the Abayudaya reside, and domesticated goats provide milk and cheese. I created this salad with our Ugandan brethren in mind. It's also an excellent recipe for celebrating Tu BiShvat!
4 ounces of Arugula, about 4 cups
8 large, pitted soft Medjool dates
1/4 cup diced red onion
4 ounces of crumbled goat cheese
1/4 cup dry-roasted shelled sunflower seeds
1/4 cup Vanilla Pomegranate vinaigrette (see recipe below)
POMEGRANATE VANILLA VINAIGRETTE:
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup unseasoned rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup pomegranate molasses (available in Middle Eastern markets)
2 teaspoons sugar or 1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon Adams' Best Vanilla or any rich vanilla extract
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Rinse the Arugula and pat dry with paper towels. Place in a salad bowl.
- Lightly oil a cutting knife and then cut the dates in half lengthwise. Cut each half crosswise about 2 or 3 times. Set aside.
- Toss the Arugula with 1/4 cup of the dressing. Place on 4 or 5 individual plates. (Alternatively, see step 6.)
- Evenly distribute the dates, onions, goat-cheese crumbles, and sunflower seeds on each plate.
- Grind a little black pepper on and drizzle with the remaining dressing.
- You can also toss everything together in one large bowl and serve.
Pomegranate Vanilla Vinaigrette:
- Combine all of the ingredients in a screw-top jar and shake thoroughly until well blended.
- If your dates are too hard, place them in a glass bowl and cover them with water. Microwave on high for 2 minutes and allow them to sit in the hot water until they're pliable.
- Pomegranate molasses is perfect for salad dressings because this concentrated juice is syrupy, sweet, and thick.