Salad Sans Marigold

I like travelling a lot – that is, I like it a lot to travel, rather than travelling a lot is what I like – getting to know different cultures, cuisines, all that stuff. Those of you who understand Polish, or are willing to suffer automated translation, can read more about my travel exploits on another blog. This year I have been to Greece and Georgia, and if there is anything common between those two escapades, it is that in those lands of highly regarded cuisine I ended up enjoying salads the most. It might have something to do with the hot climate, as in temparatures above 25 degrees Celsius I feel aversion to hot and high-energy food. Either way, in Greece I re-discovered and found new love for the greek salad; in Georgia it was the aubergine with walnut paste that earned my highest admiration (as far as food is concerned – wine is a different story altogether).

I tend to be smug about my access to unusual Polish ingredients. Today’s selection calls for one such ingredient of Georgian origin: dried marigold petals. If you can get hold of it, then great, otherwise the dish will not suffer that much from the lack of it. The rest of the shopping list is straightforward:

  • two aubergines
  • a cup of shelled walnuts
  • two cloves of garlic
  • a little bit of cider or wine vinegar
  • ground fenugreek
  • ground coriander seeds
  • fresh coriander leaves
  • one pomegranate

Cut the aubergines into long slices about 1 cm thick and grill – I did 15 mins one side, 5 the other and they turned out nice. While this goes on, put the walnuts, garlic, vinegar, fenugreek, coriander seeds, marigold (if you have some) and a little bit of salt in a food processor and make a paste. Then gradually add little bits of water so that the paste becomes hummus-like in consistency. Chop coriander and extract the pomegranate seeds. When the aubergine cools, spread the paste on it, then sprinkle with coriander leaves and finally with pomegranate seeds. Enjoy with a glass of saperavi, if you can get your hands on some. Hell, if you can get some, don’t bother with the salad, just have the saperavi!