I’ve been pondering this salad in my brain for quite some time now. Maybe that is why I have been so distracted lately (it doesn’t take much). I couldn’t find my sun glasses yesterday until I got home from the grocery store and started putting the groceries away. There were my sunglasses – in the refrigerator! I scare myself sometimes. Anyway, ever since I saw a recipe for Pomegranate Vinaigrette, I have wanted to create a fall cobb type salad. It is more cobb in style than ingredients. All I knew was I wanted it to have lots of autumn colors in it and pomegranate seeds were a must. Every time I see those colorful little gems in the store, I want to buy them, so this was my chance. They are almost too pretty to eat. I thought about stringing them on a thread and wearing them as a necklace, but that might get kind of messy.
I knew I loved the colors of the salad, but wasn’t sure what it would end up tasting like. It was wonderful! There are so many flavors going on in this salad that every bite is unique. My favorite part besides the pomegranate seeds was the cheese. I used a Stilton that had apricots in it. The colors and flavors were perfect for this salad. Only made in England, there are 2 types of Stilton, blue and white. White Stilton is very mild and crumbly and commonly paired with fruit. I found it at Trader Joe’s. If you can’t find it, though, just use whatever cheese you like that would go well with the other ingredients. Costco sells a cranberry infused cheese at Christmas time that would be great in this.
One more ingredient I wanted to mention was the pomegranate molasses in the vinaigrette. I had never been able to find this type of molasses before until we went to Dean & Deluca Gourmet Grocery Store this summer on vacation in Nappa. What an amazing place! It was a cook and food blogger’s dream. There were so many different kinds of unique items there from lavender salt (there were probably at least 20 different kinds of salt alone) to champagne cupcakes. A lot of the ingredients that I’ve seen Food Network chefs use on TV that I have never heard of before were there. I had found this recipe for Pomegranate Vinaigrette a long time ago and wanted to try it, but hadn’t been able to find that type of molasses until then so picked up a bottle. Just now though, I could not locate pomegranate molasses on their website, but did find it on Amazon. But if you don’t want to go to that hassle, just use this Brown Sugar Cider Vinaigrette recipe. I think the slight sweetness of that dressing would pair really well with this salad. That is, if you can trust the advice of someone who leaves sunglasses in the refrigerator. You will have to make that decision for yourself!
Autumn Cobb Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette
For the Salad:
- 1 bag mixed greens lettuce
- 1 bag Craisins
- 1/2 cup of toasted or candied pecans
- 1 block of Stilton cheese
- 1 butternut squash
- pomegranate seeds (Trader Joe’s) or 1 pomegranate, seeded
- 1 can mandarin oranges
- 1 box of cooked diced beets (Trader Joe’s) or fresh, roasted beets, diced
- 1 purple onion or shallot, thinly sliced
- 1 box golden raisins
- 1 Tbsp. real maple syrup
- 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 recipe Pomegranate Vinaigrette (see recipe below)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Peel butternut squash. Take out seeds and pulp. Slice into 1/2 inch cubes. Place in a large bowl.
- Pour olive oil, real maple syrup, and salt over squash cubes. Stir until completely coated. Pour squash and liquid onto a cookie sheet with a rim in a single layer.
- Cook squash for 20 to 25 minutes until bottom is browned slightly and squash is tender. Set aside.
- Loosely place lettuce in a large round bowl. Start layering salad toppings in rows on top of the lettuce in order of appearance in ingredient list, starting with the Craisins and ending with the golden raisins. Use as many of each ingredient as you need to complete the row.
- Toss just before serving or set dressing on the side for each person to use. Another option if serving immediately is to toss salad with dressing and then layer on toppings. Place dressing on side for those who want extra.
For the Vinaigrette:
- 3 Tbsp. pomegranate molasses
- 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 2 Tbsp. honey
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 2/3 c canola oil
- Whisk together the pomegranate molasses, vinegar, mustard, honey, and salt in a medium bowl. Very slowly, pour in the oil while whisking vigorously until oil is emulsified. Transfer to a glass jar with a lid.
- Store in refrigerator until needed.
Dressing recipe from Food Network Magazine, October 2011, page 76