I found this recipe in an old Bon Appetit and it’s always a crowd pleaser. The pomegranates are sweet tangy bursts in your mouth amid a savory citrus and fluffy cumin base full of wonderful nutrients. Quinoa’s a superfood people! Removing the pulp from the lemon is a little tedious, but aside from that, it’s easy. Besides, nobody should be scared of developing a new technique and it’s time you learned how to supreme a piece of citrus. And don’t worry if you’re not a big fan of fennel, because sautéing it really softens the anise (licorice) notes and then the sugar, lemon and cumin masks it even more.
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 medium fennel bulbs (2 1/2 pounds), cut lengthwise into 1/4″-thick slices
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed (I think a mixture of black, red, and yellow looks nice but it doesn’t matter)
- 1 lemon
- 1 serrano chile, seeded, chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
- 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds (from 1/2 small pomegranate)
Heat 1/4 cup oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add fennel; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until fennel is just tender and lightly golden, 10–12 minutes. Stir in lemon juice, cumin, and sugar; cook for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat, and set aside.
Meanwhile, bring quinoa and 3 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until quinoa is cooked, about 10 minutes. Drain; return to pan. Cover; let sit for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork; transfer to a large bowl.
Using a small sharp knife, cut all peel and white pith from lemon. Cut between membranes to release segments; discard membranes and roughly chop the pulp. Add lemon with any juices and remaining 1 tblsp. oil to the quinoa and stir. Add fennel mixture, Serrano chiles, dill, cilantro, and mint. Toss gently to incorporate. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer salad to a platter, sprinkle with pomegranate seeds….or add a bunch and mix them in. Enjoy!
- If you cook quinoa too much it gets mushy, so make sure you watch it carefully and take it off the heat when it’s still got the slightest amount of bite to it. It will continue to cook for a few minutes off the heat.
- This recipe is easy to double, so consider making it for a party.
- If you’re serving a main dish or protein that’s cold, consider serving it atop a bed of this salad.