The dressing of this salad tastes sharp and bright like ceviche, but the fennel and pomegranate drag it far from its South and Central American roots. You could add other seafood, like thinly sliced scallops and shrimp if you like. Or if you can find really good quality white fish, get your fishmonger to fillet and skin it for you (keep the bones and head to make a simple seafood stock) and cut it into 3/4″ inch cubes. Dream of South American or Mediterranean beaches. Sand, sun and, most importantly, not winter.
Tip: To seed the pomegranate, place it in a bowl of water, cut it in half and then break it into segments with your hands. Gently pull the seeds away from the membrane and skin. The fly-away white pith will float to the top of the bowl and you can remove it easily. The red juice won’t go everywhere because of the water, though I still wouldn’t recommend wearing white to do this. That would be asking for trouble.
Calamari and Pomegranate Ceviche Salad
1 bulb fennel
Seeds of 1 pomegranate
Juice of 2 limes
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sumac, optional
2 tbsp chopped tarragon leaves
1/2 tsp freshly ground black or white pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1 kg calamari, sliced into rings, or a 1 kg package of frozen rings
1/4 cup roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
Trim the fennel, remove the core and slice thinly (or shave on a mandoline). In a bowl combine the lime juice, salt, sumac, tarragon and pepper. Heat the oil in a large skillet or saucepan and when hot, stir-fry calamari for about 2 minutes, or until opaque but not rubbery. Remove from skillet to a large bowl and pour over dressing. Stir in the parsley and fennel and top with pomegranate seeds. This salad is even better when left to marinate for thirty minutes or even overnight (leave in fridge to marinate). Toss before serving. Try it with something naturally sweet, like sweet potatoes, to balance the acidity.