Milky and spicy are two words that never really sit well together.
Unless it’s in a salad. Particularly this one. Milky in terms of the creamy, dense chew of mozzarella and spicy from the vibrant red flecked sweet chili sauce. An absolute breeze to make and surprisingly filling, it’s a spring/summer staple of mine when I want a dinner bursting with flavour but still relatively light.
I have made this sweet chili sauce more times than I can count and have used it as both a dipping sauce for canapes but also as a salad dressing (like this). Teaming up the pomegranates with this just gives that additional click of taste amongst the salad leaves and adds an interesting dimension to the silky cheese nuggets.
So here’s the drill. Finely slice a red onion into half-moons and place in a bowl. Salt them and squeeze over the juice of a lime and stir about. Allow these to bathe in the citrus while you get on with your sauce. Funnily enough, the acid of the lime and the salt draws the acidity out of a red onion leaving them bitterly sweet – perfect for this salad.
Chop a red chili. In a very unlike me way, I actually deseed the chili as I don’t want the heat to tamper too much with the fundamentals of the sauce. I do this by halving it and carefully dragging a teaspoon down its inners, pulling out all of its spicy pip guts. I say carefully only because I have a dog and he would not appreciate swallowing a chili seed. And I wouldn’t appreciate the mess I have to clean up afterwards.
Drop the finely chopped chili in a small saucepan and add a small squirt of honey. Squeeze in the juice of one lime and add a tablespoon of water. Stir this and put it on a medium heat. Bring it to a bubble and continue to stir, before turning down the heat to the lowest setting and allowing to bubble for a further 5 minutes. Stay close to it though as you don’t want it to froth up.
Now arrange some leaves of your choice on a plate, and start ripping up a ball of mozzarella and adorn the leaves with it. Drain the red onions and scatter them over. Generously strew the salad with pomegranate seeds before drizzling over the canon burn of the sweet chili sauce. Eat immediately.
Not for any reason other than the smell of the sauce and the buxom invite of the cheese is too much to resist long term.