This salad is beautiful to look at and a holiday for the taste buds. The fennel and tarragon with their mirroring flavors, present a nice base for the jewel-like pomegranate seeds, the briny feta, and the complementary spice of sumac.
pomegranate seeds*, to taste
2 medium fennel heads
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons sumac, plus extra to garnish
juice of 1 lemon
4 tablespoons tarragon leaves
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 1/2 ounces Greek feta cheese, sliced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Remove the delicate leaves of the fennel, reserving some for the final garnish. Trim the base, making sure you leave enough of it still attached, so the slices don’t fall apart. Slice very thinly lengthwise (a mandoline or V-Slicer would come in handy).
In a bowl, mix the olive oil, sumac, lemon juice, herbs, and some salt and pepper. Add the fennel and toss well. Taste for seasoning, keeping in mind the feta will add saltiness.
Layer the fennel, then the feta, and then the pomegranate seeds in individual serving dishes. Garnish with the reserved fennel leaves, sprinkle over some sumac, and serve immediately.
*Trader Joes and many groceries carry ready-to-use pomegranate seeds in refrigerated produce. If you are obtaining the seeds directly from the pomegranate, roll the fruit to loosen the seeds. Halve the pomegranate along it’s belly, then hold the half firmly in your hand with the seeds facing your palm. Over a large bowl, start bashing the back of the fruit with a wooden spoon. Don’t hit too hard or you’ll bruise the seeds and break the skin. The seeds will just fall out. Pick out any white skin that falls in.