In the usual order of things, one decides to have a party, and then figures out which dishes to serve. But in this case, it was a stellar pomegranate and olive relish that got the ball rolling. "We have to throw a holiday party so people can taste this!" exclaimed my partner, and pretty soon we were discussing the guest list between bites.
Inspired by Persian and Turkish salads, this company-worthy relish combines jewel-like pomegranate seeds with green olives and roasted pistachios, dressed up with good olive oil and pomegranate molasses. The combination is fruity and tangy with a delightful play of textures. (Walnuts are perhaps the most traditional accompaniment to pomegranates and olives, and you could substitute those if you wish. I'm allergic to walnuts and found that pistachios worked beautifully.)
For myself and other friends on gluten-free and vegan diets, I'm serving the relish on socca crackers. For everyone else, the plan is spoon the relish atop goat cheese crostini – the pairing that made Gregory do a little dance of joy before making party plans.
Pomegranate Olive Relish
1 cup cured green olives, pitted
1/2 cup roasted pistachios
1 cup pomegranate seeds (arils)
2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses
Dash of lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper
Coarsely chop the green olives and pistachios to roughly the size of the pomegranate seeds or a bit smaller.
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and season to taste. Depending on the flavor of the pomegranates and olives, you may need more or less lemon juice and salt.
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to a day before serving.
Serve with crackers, bread, or pita chips. Delicious on crostini with goat cheese.
(Images: Emily Ho)