This festive salad has two dressings: a classic vinaigrette and a yogurt-based sauce, which was inspired by Ottolenghi, The Cookbook. The acidity in the vinaigrette is balanced nicely by the creaminess of the yogurt. In addition, the sweetness and floral notes in the fermented black garlic in the yogurt sauce goes very nicely with the stronger pungent aspects of the raw garlic in the vinaigrette. Make sure to scoop up some of the yogurt sauce with each serving of salad!
A tip for seeding the pomegranate: Cut it in half through the middle and then, over a large bowl, whack the rounded part of the pomegranate with a sturdy wooden spoon while loosely holding the cut side in your other hand. The seeds should fall right out.
1 lb. asparagus
2 firm persimmons, peeled and sliced
3 Persian cucumbers, sliced
¼ - ½ cup Marcona almonds, chopped
Seeds of one pomegranate
½ cup mint leaves, roughly chopped
½ cup cilantro, roughly chopped
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons lime juice (or to taste)
2 tablespoons honey
½ cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt to taste
Black Garlic Yogurt Sauce
16 oz. plain Greek yogurt (whole milk)
Zest of one lime
3 tablespoons black garlic, minced
3 tablespoons oil-cured black olives, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
Coat asparagus in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast under the broiler until the tips are brown and crispy. When cool, cut asparagus into 2-inch pieces and put into a large bowl along with the cucumbers, persimmons, cilantro, mint and almonds, and pomegranate seeds.
To make the vinaigrette mix all the ingredients together and whisk rapidly. The honey will emulsify the vinaigrette. Taste for salt and tartness. The vinaigrette should be tart, so add more lime juice if it is too sweet.
To make the yogurt sauce, mix the yogurt, lime zest, black garlic, olives and olive oil in a small bowl until well blended. Spread the yogurt sauce on the bottom of a serving plate, toss the vegetables with the vinaigrette, and place the vegetables on top of the yogurt sauce. Serve immediately.