Red and red and green and white. Bright, colorful, crunchy and of course spicy. This wonderful salad idea comes from the delightful Istanbul & Beyond. This salad can be prepared in a flash, but you’ll want to linger over it, savor the diversity of flavor, and perhaps marvel at how something so “simple” can be so delightful.

Don’t leave out the pomegranate molasses. It is soothingly powerful.

I do find this dish strikingly beautiful, ideal for a holiday table. Imagine Thanksgiving Day when you are swamped with cooking chores. This quick dish is an excellent accompaniment to that turkey.

Sun Dried Tomato and Pomegranate Salad

Yield: serves 6 to 8 as a meze or 4 as a side dish

Ingredients:

20 sun-dried tomatoes

1 medium pomegranate, cut in half horizontally

½ red bell pepper, quartered and sliced, or 1 hot green chile, such as jalapeno or Anaheim, sliced

¼ cup fresh mint or flat-leaf parsley leaves, or a combination, chopped

¼ cup crumbled lightly salty white cheese, such as Bulgarian feta, or 2 tablespoons grated ricotta salata

¼ cup fruity olive oil

1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses

Preparation:

Soak the sun-dried tomatoes in warm water until soft and pliable, 10 to 20 minutes.

While the tomatoes are soaking, seed the pomegranate: Gently squeeze one pomegranate half, cut side down, over a wide deep bowl to loosen the seeds. Place it cut side down in your nondominant hand. Spread your fingers to create a “sieve” through which the seeds can fall. With the handle of a wooden spoon or spatula, tap the pomegranate all over; dislodged seeds will fall, with the juices, into the bowl (the bits of bitter white membrane will remain in your hand). Continue tapping, turning the pomegranate in your hand, until most of the seeds are dislodged. If any white membrane has fallen into the bowl, pick it out. Strain the seeds from the juice; you can reserve the juice for another use.

Drain the sun-dried tomatoes and pat dry with paper towels, then slice (or cut with kitchen scissors) into ¼-inch-wide strips.

Arrange the tomato strips on a small plate and top with the pepper slices. Sprinkle over the mint or parsley, and then the cheese and pomegranate seeds. Drizzle over the olive oil and pomegranate molasses and serve immediately.

Source: Istanbul & Beyond by Robyn Eckhardt [HMH, 2017]