Two words. Yotam Ottolenghi. The name I can't pretend to pronounce, London author of award winning Jerusalem, Plenty, and Plenty More. Books printed with pages that reveal recipes and photography out of this world. Besides total eye candy and a trophy-like figure on my kitchen countertops, his book, Plenty (given to me by my friend, Betsy, for my birthday!) and Plenty More terrify me and also excitement me. Sharing the same favorite foods and flavors, his pairings and ideas far stretching beyond my imagination. Page after page, everything he creates sounds and looks good. I've explored a handful of his creations… which brings me to this fancy little number only Yotom could dream up: Tomato and Roasted Lemon Salad from his book, Plenty More. The rich colored pomegranate seeds, hope of sweet tomatoes, mint leaves from Bloomsbury Farm and lemon zest instantly transports me to a summer roof top party… Blink. Pause. Sky refusing to be anything but gray, covering the ground with snow again. It's still winter (Thanks Storm Thor). But I promise you this salad will, for just a moment, make you feel like it's a weekend in July.
INGREDIENTS: + 2 medium lemons, halved crosswise, seeds removed, and cut into paper thing slices (I completely failed at this, but the result was still okay. Invest in a sharp knife and a dead grip on that slippery lemon!) + 3 tbsp olive oil + 1/2 tsp superfine sugar (I used unrefined coconut sugar) + 8 sage leaves, finely shredded + 2 1/2 cups baby tomatoes (Yotom recommends a variety of the sweetest available) + 1/3 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves (I used organic dandelion leaves instead) + 1/2 cup mint leaves (From Bloomsbury Farms, TN) + Seeds of 1 small pomegranate + 1 1/2 tbsp pomegranate molasses (I couldn't find any at Whole Foods, so I added pomegranate juice to maple syrup) + 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced + salt and black pepper
METHOD: Preheat the oven to 325.
Blanch lemon slices for 2 minutes by bringing a small saucepan of water to boil. Drain well, place the lemon in a bowl and add 1 tablespoon of the oil, salt, sugar, and finely chopped sage. I made a major error and added all of the olive oil during this step. (Surprisingly, it still turned out okay.) Gently mix the ingredients together and spread out onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in the oven and cook for 20 minutes or until the lemons dry out a little (mine never did because of the olive oil error). Set aside to cool.
In a bowl, combine the halved tomatoes, dandelion leaves (or parsley), mint, pomegranate seeds and molasses, onion, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Top with salt and pepper. Fold in the lemon slices gently and serve as a side. Yotom Ottolenghi recommends completing the plate with oven-roasted potatoes or panfried fish.
Long, intimidating ingredient list. I'm with you on that. But life feels cheated until you try roasted lemons with sage. Trust me. Enjoy!