Kaale Seerabeh Salad (Salad With Pomegranate Dressing)
To celebrate Shab-e Yalda, the Iranian celebration of the winter solstice, the chef Hanif Sadr of Komaaj in San Francisco takes the classic preparation of kaale, or uncooked, seerabeh, a tangy walnut and pomegranate sauce, and serves it as a dressing on a crisp salad. Flecked with garlic and herbs, seerabeh is typically served with fish in the northern Iranian province of Gilan. Here, vegetables provide the chromatic canvas upon which the pinkish sauce is drizzled. Mr. Sadr recommends using a pomegranate juice you like to drink for the sauce and refrigerating the sauce overnight to allow the flavors to meld. Any leftover sauce will keep for 5 days in the fridge and is great served with fish, chicken or roasted vegetables, or as a dip.
- Serves: 6 persons
- 1cup pomegranate juice, plus more as needed
- 1cup pomegranate seeds
- Heaping 1/4 cup walnut halves
- 2large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 2tablespoons lemon juice, plus more as needed
- 1teaspoon kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)
- ¼teaspoon black pepper
- ¼cup packed cilantro leaves
- 1tablespoon coarsely chopped mint leaves
- 1tablespoon coarsely chopped parsley leaves
- 2tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Granulated sugar, to taste (optional)
- 2romaine lettuce hearts, or 4 to 6 heads Little Gem lettuce
- 2large radishes (watermelon, red, white or daikon, or a mixture), thinly sliced into rounds
- 1large carrot (preferably purple), peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
- 1large orange, segmented
- Kosher salt
- Bread, for serving
Step 1Prepare the dressing: Place the pomegranate juice, pomegranate seeds, walnuts, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a blender, and blend until smooth. Add the cilantro, mint and parsley, and blend until smooth. With the blender running on low, drizzle in the olive oil. Taste and adjust seasoning. If the sauce is too sour, sprinkle in a little sugar; if it’s not acidic enough, add a little more pomegranate juice or lemon juice, one tablespoon at a time. Be mindful that the flavors will meld more and pop as the sauce rests. Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh strainer, and discard any tiny bits of pomegranate seeds. You should have 1 3/4 cups. Transfer the sauce to a container, cover and refrigerate overnight. (The sauce can be made up to 5 days in advance.) The sauce will thicken slightly as it rests, but it’s not a thick sauce.
Step 2Assemble the salad: Remove the larger outer leaves of the romaine hearts and set aside for another use. On a serving platter or on individual plates, neatly arrange the lettuce leaves, stacking some on top of one another. (If using Little Gems, just halve them lengthwise and place on the platter; no need to stack them.) Or, chop the lettuce if you’d prefer. Scatter the radishes, carrots and orange segments on top. Sprinkle everything with a little salt. Stir the sauce to combine, and taste for seasoning and acidity. Drizzle over the salad and serve right away. Use as much sauce as desired. Serve with a side of bread to sop up any lingering dressing.