"Red-and-Green Holiday Salad"
10 oz. package of spring mix salad greens
1/2 cup diced celery
1/3 cup chopped pistachios
1 tablespoon Buddha's hand bits
Cut open the pomegranate around the equator and gently pry it in half. Remove any loose seeds and put them in a bowl. Score the sides of each half to break it into wedges, then seed the wedges. Avoid the bitter white pith.
Cut the ends off the kiwis. Use a vegetable peeler or a paring knife to cut off the fuzzy peel. Slice the kiwis. Cut each slice into small bits.
I bought diced celery this time. If yours is whole, dice it now.
Shell the pistachios, rubbing off the papery husks as much as possible. Coarsely chop the nuts.
To assemble the salad, get a large salad bowl and arrange the ingredients in a row. Put two handfuls of spring mix into the bowl. Then add small amounts of pomegranate seeds, kiwi chunks, diced celery, chopped pistachios, and Buddha bits. Repeat the layering until you run out of greens, making the last layer with the toppings. Don't toss the salad, or all the loose bits will fall to the bottom. Top with Red Palm Oil Vinaigrette or another salad dressing.
Spring mix can contain a wide range of baby greens. Typically most of it is red and green lettuces, some spinach, and a few other things for variety. It should have an interesting mix of colors and shapes with a relatively mild flavor. I had wanted to use a half-and-half blend of red and green lettuces but couldn't find it.
Pomegranate is a round red fruit available in autumn and winter. It opens to reveal many jewel-red seeds.
Kiwi is a small fruit with a fuzzy brown peel, usually green inside.
Buddha's hand is a type of citrus fruit with an intense floral lemony aroma. It is bright yellow with weird "fingers" sticking out from the base. It is neither juicy nor bitter, but rather crisp, tangy, and slightly sweet. Look for a firm fruit that is about the size of your two hands; the little ones aren't worth the expense. It has a short season, usually just a few weeks in late fall or early winter, so grab it when you see it. Candied Buddha's hand is bittersweet.
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"Red Palm Oil Vinaigrette"
6 tablespoons red palm oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 pinch Hawaiian red salt
1/2 teaspoon red peppercorns
dash apple pie spice
Choose a container for your salad dressing. I used a .6 oz (1 7/8" wide x 4" tall) glass herb jar with a wide mouth and screw-on lid. This was perfect because the dressing filled it almost full, with just enough space left to shake with. Any similar jar should work, just make sure the lid closes securely. You can also make the salad dressing in a bowl if you want to use a whisk or mixer to blend it.
Into your chosen container, pour 6 tablespoons red palm oil, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice in that order. The oil helps the honey slide off the measuring spoon, and then the acids help clean off more of the honey.
In a mortar and pestle, grind together a pinch of Hawaiian red salt and 1/2 teaspoon red peppercorns. Add to the dressing. Add a dash of allspice and a dash of apple pie spice.
Shake thoroughly to mix. It took several minutes for me. The salad dressing should turn creamy orange to red. At this stage, taste your dressing. It should be tangy, fruity, and slightly sweet. If the flavor seems way off, this is the best time to correct that by adding the opposite component. If it's too sour or not mixing well, add more honey. If it's too sweet or too oily, add more apple cider vinegar.
Let the salad dressing sit at room temperature before you use it. Some of the ingredients may settle to the bottom if you leave it sitting for a long time, but nowhere near as fast as ordinary vinaigrette. If that happens, just shake it again. Use a spoon to drizzle it over salad greens.
Red palm oil is made from red palm fruit. It has a faint nutty flavor that unites and intensifies other flavors around it. Its vivid orange to red color comes from carotenes. Choose organic and sustainable brands when possible, because other kinds have a heavy environmental impact.
Honey comes in many types. I used wildflower honey from a friend's family apiary. You want a medium-to-light one for this recipe. Clover or fruit blossom honeys should also work. Honey helps the other ingredients to blend, but you don't need much. I only used a ratio of 1 tablespoon honey to 2 tablespoons acid (apple cider vinegar and lemon juice) and 6 tablespoons oil.
Apple cider vinegar has a light, sweet-tart, very fruity taste. Try to find an organic live culture with the mother intact.
Red salt comes from Hawaii. It has a red to orange color and strong iron flavor that goes well with pork and some fruits. If you can't find it, substitute sea salt or plain table salt.
Red peppercorns are not true peppercorns but work similarly. They have a light, fruity taste that goes well with delicate flavors. If you can't find any, use black pepper sparingly.
This vinaigrette was designed to go with the Red-and-Green Holiday Salad.