Pomegranate, Apple and Pecan Salad with Pecan-crusted Goat Cheese and Honey-White Wine Vinaigrette

Pomegranates are one of my favorite fruits because not only are they delicious but also packed with antioxidents. Since they are only in the store during winter, I like to take advantage of their availability as much as possible. Besides eating them as is, they are awesome in a salad because they add the elements of sweet and tart plus crunch from the seeds. That brings me to one important point: yes, the seeds are edible. I've seen many people trying to nibble the fruity parts off of the seed but that is totally not necessary...and exceedingly tedious. The little "berries" inside the pomegranate are actually called arils. To remove the arils from the fruit, there are two basic methods that I have used. For one of them, remove the top and bottom of the fruit, then score the outside of the fruit with a knife. Then, insert the whole thing into a bowl of water and pull apart and scrape the arils out. The white pith will float to the top and the arils will sink. The other method has to be my favorite-I call it the bashing method, where you score the fruit as above, however instead of twisting the fruit under water, twist it over a bowl and then bash sections of the broken fruit with a wooden spoon. With the bashing method, however, the arils tend to break a little more, increasing your chances of getting juices everywhere---it's such a great stress reliever so I think it's worth it, however. Plus, if you are adding the arils to a salad, the juices just get added to the dressing and flavor the salad. I've created a salad here that incorporates pomegranates along with warm goat cheese.

Pomegranate, Apple and Pecan Salad with Pecan-crusted Goat Cheese and Honey-White Wine Vinaigrette

For the dressing:

3 tbsp honey
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Blend vinegar and honey in a bowl.
2. Slowly whisk oil into vinegar-honey mixture.
3. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

For the pecan-crusted goat cheese:

1 6-oz log of goat cheese, very cold
2 tbsp plain or seasoned bread crumbs
2 tbsp ground pecans
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat a medium oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat.
2. On a small plate, combine bread crumbs, pecans and salt and pepper, to taste.
3. Cut the goat cheese into 8 slices with a very sharp knife or unflavored dental floss.
4. Coat each piece of cheese with the bread crumb-pecan mixture, gently pressing the crumb mixture into the cheese.
5. Add the oil to the skillet, allow to warm for about 30 seconds, then add coated cheese slices.
6. Allow the cheese to cook for about 3 minutes, then place the cheese in the oven and continue cooking, 5 more minutes until lightly browned.
7. Remove the cheese from the oven and rest in the pan, 5 minutes.
8. Top each salad serving with 2 slices, flipping the slices over to show the well-browned bottom side.

For the salad:

5 oz mixed salad greens
1 medium crisp apple (such as gala), thinly sliced
arils of half a pomegranate
1/4 c chopped pecans

1. Add all ingredients to a large salad bowl.
2. Once the goat cheese has finished resting, dress with honey-white wine vinaigrette.
3. Divide salad onto four serving plate.
4. Top each plate with 2 of the goat cheese slices.

Servings per recipe: 4
Per Serving:
Calories: 411
Total fat: 28 g
Saturated fat: 12 g

Cholesterol: 45 mg
Sodium: 185.5 mg
Carbohydrates: 27 g
Fiber: 1.7 g
Sugar: 13 g
Protein: 15 g

This salad is has been prepared as a meal-sized salad, however it can be divided into eighths for an appetizer-sized salad.

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