Biblical scholars debate whether it was an apple or a pomegranate the snake gave to Eve. Whichever fruit offered the temptation, both are in this salad, along with several more ancient Middle Eastern ingredients such as chickpeas, fennel, goat cheese, preserved lemons, and the aphrodisiac spice mix in raz el hanout. The apple blended into the dressing gives it a creamy texture which combines well with the warm spiciness of cardamom, cinnamon, and ginger, and the unusually bright and tart preserved lemons. This tempting and colorful salad is a seductive balance of salty, sweet, sour, with just a little bitter. - robinbeth —robinbeth
Test Kitchen Notes
Robinbeth's Moroccan Eden salad is an absolute joy for the senses. A vibrant palette of greens, creams, violets, and reds plate up very prettily on plain white plates. The warm and aromatic spices of the ras el hanout dressing linger delicately, as you sink into bursts of sweet, savory, sour, and salty—each bite being a just bit different than the last, in a very pleasant way, depending upon where your fork had landed. We loved that this salad satisfies so many cravings in a single bound and is perfect as a meal in itself. —Jennifer Ann
Raz el Hanout and Preserved Lemon Dressing
extra virgin olive oil
high quality white wine vinegar
agave syrup or unrefined sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons
raz el hanout
tablespoons preserved lemons, rinsed and chopped
apple (crisp and sweet variety such as fuji, honeycrisp, or pink lady), peeled and chopped
fresh ground pepper to taste
Fennel, Arugula and Apple Salad
red onion, thinly sliced
white wine vinegar
agave syrup or unrefined sugar
fresh ground pepper
fennel bulb, thinly sliced
fresh mint, roughly chopped
1 1/2 cups
apples (crisp and sweet variety such as fuji, honeycrisp, or pink lady), chopped in 1/4 inch sticks
juice of 1/2 lemon
unsalted pistachios, chopped
Moroccan oil-cured olives, roughly chopped
chick peas, preferably unsalted, canned or soaked and cooked until soft
aged goat cheese or mild goat milk feta, crumbled
Thinly slice the red onion, from stem to root. Blanch the onion crescents in boiling water for a quick minute, drain, and place into a bowl with vinegar, sugar, and cracked black pepper. Allow to sit and become a quick pickle for half an hour or more while the rest of the salad is assembled.
Cut preserved lemon into quarters and rinse off excess salt and brine, and remove any seeds. Assemble dressing by blending together vinegar, sugar, spice, preserved lemon, and apple until smooth. Slowly blend in oil. Pulse in mint at the very end. Add pepper to taste. The dressing should not need any salt because of the salt in the lemon.
Slice the fennel bulb paper thin (using a mandoline if available). Mix with arugula, roughly chopped mint, chick peas, chopped pistachios, and olives. NOTE: Because the preserved lemons and oil-cured olives are both salty, it is best to use unsalted pistachios and chickpeas, and mild feta if possible. You can always add salt at the end if needed.
Remove seeds from pomegranate by scoring the skin and breaking fruit open. Gently pull out seeds and add 1/2 cup to salad mix.
Halve and core the apples, leaving the peel on. Slice the apple from top to bottom into 1/4 inch slices. Turn slices on their side and cut into 1/4 inch sticks. Place cut apple into a bowl and toss with the juice of half a lemon to keep from browning. Add apples to salad.
Drain vinegar from pickled onions and add to salad. Mix together, toss with enough dressing to lightly graze everything. Add salt and pepper if necessary. Top with crumbled cheese. Serve with warm pita.