Shankleesh salad with parsley & pomegranate

Shankleesh salad with parsley & pomegranate

By
From
New Feast
Serves
4
Photographer
Alan Benson

This is our version of a traditional shankleesh salad. You can find shankleesh – a rather pungent, spiced cheese, with something of a blue-cheese quality about it – in Middle Eastern grocers, usually vacuum packed in the chillcabinet. Store-bought shankleesh varies in texture and flavour, depending on its age and the spices used. These range from za’atar to Aleppo pepper and even very hot chilli flakes. Our own home-made version is very quick and easy to whip up and is so moreish that it never seems to last long. But whether you buy it or make your own, shankleesh provides a brilliant spicy counterpoint to this refreshing, crunchy salad. The pomegranate seeds are not traditional, but add an intermittent pleasing sweet crunch.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 lebanese cucumber, peeled and cut into cut into small chunks
3 medium vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped
1/4 red onion, finely sliced
2 handfuls roughly torn bitter leaves
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/4 cup purslane leaves
1 tablespoon roughly torn oregano leaves
salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
1 ball Home-made shankleesh, broken into small pieces
or 80g a good commercial shankleesh
30ml saffron vinaigrette, (see note)
or extra-virgin olive olive and lemon juice

Method

  1. Combine the cucumber, tomatoes, onion, leaves and herbs in a large mixing bowl. Season lightly and add the pomegranate seeds. Add enough vinaigrette to coat lightly and mix everything together very gently. Crumble the shankleesh over the top of the salad; storebought cheese will be firmer than our home-made version. Eat with plenty of warm bread.

Note:

  • You can also buy vacuum-packed shankleesh in Middle Eastern stores.

Note:

  • To make the saffron vinaigrette, combine 10-15 saffron threads, 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon white wine and 1 teaspoon honey in a small saucepan. Heat gently until the honey has dissolved, then add 2 finely chopped spring onions, 1 garlic clove crushed to a paste with 1/2 teaspoon salt, big pinch red chilli flakes and the leaves from 1 sprig thyme. Pour into a jar with a lid and leave to cool. Next, combine 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds, 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds and 1/4 teasoon white peppercorns in a small dry frying pan and cook over a medium heat for 3–4 minutes, until lightly toasted and aromatic. Crush roughly in a mortar then add them to the saffron infusion, along with 125 ml olive oil and juice of 1/2 lemon. Shake vigorously then taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking.
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