Bulgur, Celery and Pomegranate Salad

Bulgur, Celery and Pomegranate Salad Recipe

This lovely pomegranate-studded salad recipe is from Samuel and Samantha Clark's recent cookbook release - Moro East. The opening passage of the book starts off as follows:

We needed courage to find our allotment for the first time. The vast area east of Victoria Park has a dust bleakness, unusual for London. If bicycling there we have to keep away from the kerb to avoid broken glass and rusty metal. The smell of burnt cow hair from the meat processing plant adds to the atmosphere. The only clue that there is any gardening life in the area is the wild rocket pushing out of the cracks in the pavement. Beside the bus depot, out of sight of the road, is a barbed rusty gate, behind which things change dramatically.

You can't help but gasp when you open the gate and find yourself standing at the foot of a 70-metre bridge high over the river, looking across to a bank of wild plums, elderflower and blackberries. There is not a building in sight, just the odd proud shed. Here are the land and the community that have been so important to us over the past seven years.

And this is the scene where Moro East is set. For those of you not familiar with Sam and Sam Clark, they run the much-praised UK restaurant, Moro. A few years back the couple took on an East End swatch of land at the Manor Garden Allotments - this cookbook, their third, tells the story of their experience over the course of a year, through a wide range of inspired recipes.

Pomegranate Salad Recipe

According to the book the allotments were established in 1900 by Arthur Villiers. The 81 plots eventually flourished into a thriving multicultural community of not only Londoners but also families from Greece, Italy, Cyprus, Turkey, and the West Indies. A rich range of crops also evolved - many of which are featured in Moro East in recipes like Pumpkin Pisto, Jewelled Pumpkin Rice, Allotment Herb Salad, Syrian Fattoush, Tomato Soup with Cumin & Figs, Chard with Chickpeas & Tahini, Rhubard and Rosewater Fool, and Baked Beetroot with Horseradish & Almond Sauce.

Pomegranate Salad Recipe

Toby Glanville's photographs bring many of the garden's characters and details to life. I've included a small selection of images here to give you a sense of the place that provided the heartbeat for this volume. Clearly a very special place, and an important one to document. This is what makes it all the more heartbreaking to read the final passage of the book which concludes with these words,

All was lost in late 2007 when the site was bulldozed by the 2012 Olympic Committee. Despite a campaign by the Manor Gardens Allotment Society to have the allotments incorporated into the Olympic site, this fertile land will be concreted over and used, for the four weeks of the games, as a pathway between stadiums.

You can read more about what transpired here, and in this Guardian article as well.

Pomegranate Salad Recipe

After spending some time with Moro East, I chose this beautiful pomegranate salad recipe to feature - it's perfect for the holidays. After just a bit of prep you end up with a wonderfully textured, color-flecked salad - imagine the crunch of celery and walnuts, and the occasional pop of pomegranate seeds. The salted garlic undercurrent of the simple pomegranate dressing adds just the right balance to the tangy sweetness of the vibrant juice. Easy, delicious, and a pretty addition to any table.

Moro East is currently shipping through Amazon.co.uk.
Those of you here in the U.S who are interested might have to wait a couple weeks - Amazon is currently taking pre-orders for a 12/24 ship date of Moro East.

Bulgur, Celery and Pomegranate Salad

HS notes: I toasted the walnuts. Also, to get the seeds out of a pomegranate cut the fruit into wedges. Place the wedges in a large bowl of water and break the wedges apart to remove the seeds. The seeds will sink to the bottom and the bitter pith and skin will float to the top making it easy to remove. To juice the seeds I simply place small handfuls into a handheld citrus juicer and let the juice run into a separate bowl.

2/3 cup (100g) medium or coarse bulgur
1 pound (400g) celery (a small head), cut in thin slices on a slight bias
seeds of 1/2 large pomegranate
3/4 cup (75g) walnuts, roughly chopped
1 small bunch of flat-leaf parsley
1 scant tablespoon fresh mint, finely chopped

Pomegranate Dressing:
juice of 1/2 large pomegranate
1/2 garlic clove, crushed to a paste with 1/2 teaspoon of salt
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

For the dressing, whisk all the ingredients together, season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.

Put the bulgur in a bowl, add (hs note: boiling hot) water to just below the surface of the wheat and leave it to stand for 10 minutes (hs note: 10 - 15 minutes), until just tender but still quite al dente. Add more water as required or drain in a colander if too wet.

Put all the ingredients in a bowl, pour over the dressing and check the seasoning. Serve immediately. Make sure the walnuts are dressed just before serving, as sometimes they can impart a bitter flavour and unpleasant colour to the dressing if left to sit.

Serves 4.

from Moro East by Samuel and Samantha Clark (Ebury Press, 2007) - reprinted with permission.

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Comments

I have been wanting to try bulgur & this recipe is definitely my style of eating---thanks!

JEP

I can't even BEGIN to articulate how gorgeous these photographs are, Heidi - and that bulgar-salad recipe?? YUM!! I never thought of serving bulgar with pomegranate before - brilliant!

wow..this looks so great and cheery! im going to pick up the ingredients this weekend

fishoutofwater

The salad looks healthy and colorful...haven't tried bulgar before, but there's always a first time! I'm trying to eat healthy along with all the holiday baking that I'm doing:)

Amazon UK will ship stuff to the States. But not necessarily cheaply. Make sure it's worth the cost to you. They will also email you with the same frequency that Amazon US does.

Amazoner

pomegranate and walnuts have become the default in all my salads. bulghur sounds like a great addition, but i'm hesitant with the celery (never really liked it). any suggestions for substitutes? and i like the quinoa idea....

That story almost made me cry, no sad stories before my coffee injection, new rule! The recipe looks yum, I may do it with quinoa though, just cuz.

DeerDominique

I planted 2 pomegranate trees in my own French 'allotment' this month; will think of all those displaced gardeners when making this great winter salad. Thanks for sharing their story.

How did you get this book? I was in london and left the day before it was released ~ late October~ and have been checking Amazon daily and they wont ship until after NY and just nearly doubled the price. Does the amazon UK site ship here to US? Thanks for posing this recipe...

lauren

If you're like me and have no citrus juicer that allows for pomegranate seeds: I've found that putting a pomegranate (or a half a pomegranate in this case) into a ziploc bag and then squishing it with my hands until it stops squeaking is a good way to juice it.

sciencegeek

It looks wonderful -- but is there a substitute for the celery? (the texture is so weird, I've never liked it) Apple, maybe?

Not having read the Clarks' book (altho' I'm familiar with them and with Moro), I read the excerpts with interest as my friend had an allotment there and I used to help her work it in exchange for produce. Yes, it's truly heartbreaking. Not only for the lost plots and fecund land, but for the cultural loss. With this part of London being so multicultural, it seemed like there were people from every corner of the world - Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean and Middle East, the Caribbean, many parts of Africa, South East Asia - all bringing their native (or, if not first generation, learned) knowledge of what they liked to eat and grow. An immense loss to our community. And London's Mayor and our government keep telling the people of East London that the Olympics 2012 is the best thing to happen to us. I don't think so.

Denzylle

The waterbowl method must be the best way to avoid staining clothes, hands and arms with pomegranate juice. Up till now, in my family, whoever wasn't wearing anything white got to break up the pomegranate... My husband usually takes off his shirt for the occasion! About soaking time and temperature for the bulghur- I guess it depends which kind you have available, coarse or fine.

Y

It is red, green and brown .. wow! what a great colour combo and looks yummy and easy to make. I shall give it a try!

Intriguing - I loved their first book, Moro, and I've heard really good things about this one. We had gorgeous tapas at the Moro restaurant in London a few weeks ago, along with an unexpectedly fabulous Moroccan red wine Re the pomegranate, my favourite way to get the seeds and juice out is just to cut it in half and whack the back of each half with a wooden spoon so that the seeds fall out. A lot of juice comes out this way as you can give the shell a good squeeze.

(you may think I'm getting really old 'cause I repeat myself:) your picture is gorgeous! And what a refreshing recipe (one I will try for sure as soon as I found pomegrenade) and an intriguing cookbook.

Oh that looks so beautiful, with the pomegrante eye poppingly red with the colors. It's hard to keep things bright and fresh in the winter and this meets your high standards of beauty! I love the photos!

This looks so amazing to eat. I am going to make this tomorrow night for dinner. Did I tell you how much I appreciate you today? Totally in LURVE!

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