Turkish tomato salad with pomegranate and walnuts

Walnut trees and pomegranate groves in glorious scarlet bloom blanketed hillsides all over southwestern Turkey. The two flavours are found in both sweet and savoury dishes and in everyday salads. No two salads were exactly alike — always with tomatoes, cucumbers and white onion, in a small dice, or in large chunks, including lots of fresh herbs such as dill, parsley and wild thyme, and occasionally lettuce, simply dressed with lemon and oil. Keep tomatoes on the counter, not in the refrigerator. A salad like this allows home-grown heirloom or farmers market tomatoes like those from Gull Valley Greenhouses or Sundog Farm to shine. Otherwise buy romas or cherry tomatoes for the best flavour.

  • squeeze fresh lemon juice (approx 1 T)
  • 3 T extra virgin olive oil*
  • 1 t pomegranate molasses**
  • sea salt and fresh-cracked pepper
  • 3-4 large tomatoes or equivalent
  • 1 large cucumber
  • ½ white onion
  • 2-3 leaves fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • fresh leafy herbs such as parsley, dill, and tarragon
  • ½ c walnuts, lightly toasted

Squeeze lemon juice in the bottom of a big bowl and whisk in oil until emulsified. Drizzle in pomegranate molasses and thyme. Season to taste. Chop tomatoes, cucumbers and onion into a medium dice and add to the bowl. Snip in fresh herbs and toss gently. Adjust seasoning, then mound on a platter and toss walnuts over.

Serves 4.

* Turkish extra virgin olive oils are softer and less assertive in flavour than Italian, Spanish or Greek oils, perhaps because most are made when the olives are black and fully ripe. Nefiss is an excellent brand, widely available in Edmonton.

** Find pomegranate molasses at the Italian Centre Shops.

More recipes from Turkish Feast.