Fennel and Feta with Pomegranate Seeds and Sumac
This salad has all the little ‘bursts of flavour’ we look for in a dish. The little explosions of sweetness from the pomegranate seeds, for example, along with the tart astringency of the sumac. It’s lovely to eat as it is, or else served alongside some grilled fish or roasted meat. If you’re looking for a substitute to the pomegranate but want to keep the colour and sweetness, dried cranberries or sour cherries also work well.
- 1/2 pomegranate
- 2 medium fennel heads
- 1 1/2 tsp olive oil
- 2 tsp sumac, plus extra to garnish
- 1 lemon, juice
- 10g picked tarragon leaves
- 10g parsley, roughly chopped
- 70g Greek feta cheese, sliced
- salt and black pepper
Start by releasing the pomegranate seeds. The best way to do it is to halve the pomegranate along its ‘belly’ (you only need half a pomegranate here), then hold the half firmly in your hand with the seeds facing your palm. Over a large bowl, start bashing the back of the fruit with a wooden spoon. Don’t hit too hard or you’ll bruise the seeds and break the skin. Magically, the seeds will just fall out. Pick out any white skin that falls in.
Remove the leaves of the fennel, keeping a few to garnish later, and trim the base, making sure you leave enough of it still attached to hold the slices together. Slice very thinly lengthwise (a mandolin would come in handy here).
In a bowl, mix the olive oil, sumac, lemon juice, herbs and some salt and pepper. Add the fennel and toss well. Taste for seasoning but remember, the feta will add saltiness.
Layer the fennel, then the feta and then the pomegranate seeds in individual serving dishes. Garnish with fennel leaves, sprinkle over some sumac and serve immediately.