1 cup paper-thin strips red onion
1/2 cup lemon juice
6 lrg Valencia oranges - (abt 4 lbs)
Freshly-ground black pepper to taste
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup diced pared cucumber - (1 med)
1 cup pomegranate arils
4 ounces black oil-cured olives - (abt 1 cup)
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon finely-chopped mint
About 1 hour before making salad, place onion slices in bowl and marinate in lemon juice. Peel oranges and cut into thin, round slices with very sharp knife. Cut rounds in half and pick out seeds.
Place oranges in large work bowl, drain onion of all excess liquid and add onion to oranges. Sprinkle mixture with pepper. Combine oil and vinegar to make the vinaigrette.
Wine Suggestions: Rose and blush wines, such as American white Zinfandels, are a good beverage choice when pairing with foods that are fruity, acidic, spicy and complex, such as this salad.
Comments: The inspiration for this salad is North Africa, where pomegranates are used in a variety of creative ways. The salad's secret is its startling interplay of flavors: the tartness of the fruit, the onion - the infusion of the onion is an important step, so do not skip it - and most importantly, the saltiness of the olives. The lemon removes the sharpness of the raw onion and colors it pink, an important visual note in the salad's appearance.