Was this week’s weather trying to send a message — that it’s never too early to start Rosh Hashanah menu planning and cooking? The cool breezes have given way once again to summer sunshine, but the colder temperatures are a reminder that the fall High Holidays are not too far away. It’s time to start thinking about those classic autumn flavors and colors that are quintessential Rosh Hashanah.
This side dish takes its starting point from an unused jar of very tart, unsweetened pomegranate juice, and then hits further Rosh Hashanah flavor buttons: carrots, pomegranate airils and if you find the recipe too tart, a drizzle of honey. A nice added bonus is the barley, one of the seven species celebrated during the later-in-the-fall Sukkot holiday.
This perfect accompaniment to your Rosh Hashanah meal also makes a good main course for vegetarians if you opt for the feta cheese.
Pomegranate Glazed Carrot Salad
Pomegranate carrots via Inspired Taste transformed into a grain salad
- ¾ cup barley
- 1 lb. carrots, rainbow colored if available
- 1 TB olive oil
- 1 cup pomegranate juice
- 1 3" cinnamon stick
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- 1 TB butter
- ¼ cup feta cheese, crumbled
- Pepita or pistachios, toasted
- Mint leaves, optional
- Pomegranate airils, optional
Bring barley and about 2 cups of water (or stock) to boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cook covered until tender (barley should be al dente) and most of the liquid has been absorbed, around 30-40 minutes. Let stand five minutes. Drain well.
While the barley is cooking, scrub, rinse and halve the carrots lengthwise. Heat olive oil in a wide skillet over medium high. Toss in the carrots and cook for 5 minutes. Add the pomegranate juice, cinnamon stick, salt and pepper then simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally until the carrots are tender and the liquid has reduced, about 20 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and swirl in the butter until melted.
Remove carrots from pan. Add barley to pan and mix gently so barley absorbs pomegranate glaze. Season well, adding up to 1 TB of olive oil if needed. Pile the barley on a serving platter and drape carrots over. Sprinkle with feta cheese, pistachios or pepitas, mint and pomegranate airils.
This salad can be made parve by using margarine instead of the butter, and omitting the feta cheese. If omitting feta, finish with a couple pinches extra of salt.
If you find the carrots too tart, add a drizzle of honey.