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Falafel with Tomato and Parsley Salad and Pomegranate Sauce

Posted Mar 11 2010 3:42am

With this rather drawn out winter we are having, I am feeling the desire to brighten up my days with colourful plates of food, filled with rainbow shades of vegetables, medleys of spices and robust, mellow starches: foods that not only nourish and taste delicious but also bring a little colour back in to the kitchen.  As much as I adore the dense stews, creamy soups and buttery crumbles of winter cooking, there comes a time in the season when my taste buds are clamouring for the first delicate bite of an asparagus spear, picked and eaten on the same day – fresh, clean and delightful.

In the meantime, there is nothing for it but to bamboozle my winter palate with a little light and spice, and what better way to do it than with Falafel with Tomato and Parsley Salad and Pomegranate Sauce.  I simply adore falafel: they are nature’s little balls of energy: dense, spiced and completely moreish, the falafel demands to be eaten with a platter of salads, light and bright herbs, griddled aubergines and a good dollop of houmous – who said you can have too many chickpeas?  Equally, they are wondrous when wrapped in soft corn tortillas with a fragrant carrot and orange salad on the side, but those are recipes for another day.

Today, I wanted to make a tomato and parsley salad to accompany them – a variation on the Middle Eastern tradition of serving a bowl full of mixed fresh herbs with a meal.  I think it lends the perfect bite and contrast to those freshly fried falafel, while the pomegranate sauce gives a wonderful tang to the proceedings.  You can find pomegranate syrup in Sainsbury’s and Waitrose as well as any Middle Eastern food store.

FALAFEL WITH TOMATO and PARSLEY SALAD and POMEGRANATE SAUCE

Serves 4 as a starter or as part of a larger meal

For the falafel

1 x 400g (240g drained weight) tin of chickpeas, drained

1 medium white onion

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground cumin

¼ tsp chilli powder

½ tsp sea salt flakes

1 clove of garlic, crushed

3 tbsp groundnut oil

Doves Farm Plain Gluten Free Flour to coat

 

For the salad

A very large bunch of flat leaf parsley

2 medium ripe tomatoes

½ a red onion

1 tbsp good quality olive oil

 

For the sauce

1½ tbsp pomegranate syrup

½ tbsp water

1 spring onion, finely chopped

 

Peel the onion and finely chop.  Place the chickpeas, onion, crushed garlic, salt and spices in a food processor and blitz until you have a rough paste.  Turn the mixture in to a bowl, cover and chill in the fridge for up to an hour or until firm.

Using your hands, carefully form tablespoons of the mixture into small round cakes approximately 1 inch in diameter - it can help if your hands are slightly damp.  Coat them evenly in the plain flour and return to the fridge until ready to fry. 

Prepare the salad by washing the parsley in cold water and trimming the ends from the stalks.  Place the tomatoes in a bowl and then cover in boiling water and leave for 1 minute.  Drain the tomatoes and carefully peel away their skins – they should just slide off.  Finely dice the tomatoes and the red onion and combine the herb leaves, tomatoes and red onion.  Drizzle with the olive oil, season well and toss lightly.  In a separate bowl mix together the pomegranate syrup, water and spring onion until combined.

Heat the groundnut oil in a heavy based frying pan and fry the falafel over a medium heat until golden on both sides - approximately 10 minutes.  Serve while hot with a handful of the parsley salad and a good spoonful of the pomegranate sauce.

 

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