Poor Demeter. Her daughter, Persephone, was taken by Hades and carried away to the underworld. Demeter was the goddess of agriculture and the earth withered as crops dried up because Demeter was only concerned with finding her daughter. The cries of the hungry forced Zeus to get involved, and he ordered Hades to release Persephone from the underworld and return her to her mother.
But, there was one small hitch in the plan.
Hades had tricked Persephone into eating four pomegranate seeds. Normally consuming food would destine someone to spend eternity in the underworld, but Zeus managed to convince Hades to release Persephone anyway, with one small caveat.
She had to spend a month back there for every seed consumed.
So when Persephone is imprisoned below earth, Demeter is so saddened that she can’t concentrate on tending to crops and that’s why we have four months of winter. Or six, if you live in Vermont.
But, it’s easy to empathize with Persephone. It’s very difficult to resist the beautiful seeds of a pomegranate. And this salad lets them shine in a bright champagne vinaigrette.
Pomegranate, Grapefruit and Blueberry Salad in a Champagne Vinaigrette
1 grapefruit, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 cup of blueberries
½ teaspoon of crushed sea salt
¼ cup of olive oil
2 tablespoons of champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
1 teaspoon of dijon mustard (optional)
2 tablespoons of fresh mint, chopped
To seed the pomegranate:
Quarter the fruit and drop into a large bowl of water. Let them sit for about 10 minutes to loosen the membrane and then remove the seeds by hand. I’m not going to sugarcoat this part of the process, it’s time consuming and messy. Your kitchen will look like Dexter had a beef with you. But, it’s worth it.
Combine 1 cup of the pomegranate seeds with the grapefruit and blueberries. (If there are any seeds left over, reserve them for other salads or to garnish a protein.) Mix together the olive oil, vinegar and lemon juice. Add dijon if you want it to combine the dressing into a smoother emulsion. Normally I do prefer that, but with the fruit I enjoyed the looseness of the olive oil and other ingredients. Add the mint and stir well to combine. Let the salad sit at room temperature for an hour to let the flavors meld.
(Photos by Launie Kettler)