Tuesday, November 22, 2011


During pomegranate season, (which is happening right now for those of you who don’t realize it), I eat one of these lovely fruits every 2-3 days.  I adore pomegranates, but I’m picky. The flavor must be the perfect balance of sweet and tart and never ever unripe!  And no, I do not spit out the seeds. That would be an ordeal! My favorite way to enjoy eating pomegranates is just with a spoon and a full bowl of the seeds (or rather the “arils”).

I encourage you to join me in a “pomegranate day” by having pomegranate at each of your meals.  To support you in this noble endeavor I’ve included recipes for a breakfast dish, a salad, and a dessert that all use pomegranate.

Maybe you think they’re just too much trouble, but I have a fast technique for getting those arils out of the pulpy interior.  First, you should not be wearing any white or light colored clothing.  Take it from me no matter how careful you think you can be, you will end up with a permanent stain.  Think of those seeds as miniature grenades with the pins already removed.  The seeds have a devilish nature and will use any opportunity to explode.  So please take that pristine white shirt off before you even pick up the knife.

While this method gets those seeds out fast, it is somewhat messy. Also you do damage the arils closest to the skin.  So if you are picky like I am about having unblemished arils then the slower method of picking the arils out by hand is the way to go.

Jewel Salad
I’ve been making this dish for many years.  It looks beautiful, tastes great, and makes a wonderful holiday salad.  I’ve adapted it from a recipe that appeared in Martha Stewart Living and can still be found on her website.  Martha’s version makes a HUGE amount of salad.  Although it claims to serve 8, it really is more like 12-14.  My version serves 6-8 and I also just use one of the two dressings she provides.
1-2 pomegranates, seeded (about 1 ½ cups)
2 Fuyu persimmon, finely chopped or thinly sliced
½ cup dry apricots, finely chopped
4-5 Satsuma mandarin oranges, peeled and sectioned
1 Granny Smith apple, finely chopped
1 small bulb fennel, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 small head radicchio, halved and finely sliced
½ cup walnuts, chopped
½ cup blue cheese
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons orange juice
2 teaspoons soy sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
 Place all chopped fruit in one bowl and the fennel, celery and radicchio in another bowl.  Dress each bowl separately.  In a large serving bowl carefully layer the ingredients from both bowls, sprinkling the nuts and cheese as you build up the salad.
Panna Cotta with Pomegranate Jelly
This recipe is very easy and versatile, plus it looks pretty and has a lovely creamy taste.  It is adapted from the cookbook Olives & Oranges by Sara Jenkins & Mindy Fox.  If you’d like to lighten this up try substituting milk or buttermilk for some of the cream.  Likewise the amount of sugar can be reduced.  Taste and decide what appeals to you.  This dessert serves from 4 to 6 depending on the ramekins or glasses you use.  I find this dish can be rich and intense, so I try to use small cups to serve the dessert in.  You could even use shot glasses.
1 cup heavy cream or half and half
1 cup milk 1% or 2%
½ cup Greek yogurt or sour cream (can be full fat, or not)
½ cup sugar
zest of ½ of lemon
1 ¼ teaspoons unflavored gelatin

Place ¼ cup cream (or the dairy of your choice) in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over the cream.  Let stand until gelatin softens, about 10 minutes.  In a saucepan combine remaining 1¾ cup cream, sugar and lemon zest. Stir over low heat until sugar dissolves.  Pour in the gelatin mixture and stir until the gelatin dissolves and the mixture is smooth.  Do not let boil.  Let cool briefly. Place the yogurt or sour cream in a bowl and slowly whisk the heated cream into the yogurt (or sour cream).  Carefully pour into glass ramekins or small glasses and refrigerate until set.

Pomegranate Jelly
4 tablespoons cold water
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1 cup pomegranate juice
1 tablespoon sugar

Sprinkle gelatin over cold water and let sit for 10 minutes.  Next in a saucepan combine juice, sugar and gelatin mixture and stir over low heat, stirring until the gelatin dissolves.  Do not let boil.  Remove from the heat and let cool briefly.  Pour the jelly over the set panna cottas and return to the refrigerator for at least 4-5 hours.
To make the panna cottas in a mold just reverse the process and start with the jelly.  Make sure the jelly is well set, otherwise you won’t get the distinct layers.  Also lightly oil the mold. When ready to serve slide a knife around the panna cotta to help release it from the mold.

Oats with Orange, Pomegranate, Pepitas, and Maple Syrup
This recipe is from Martha Stewart Living January 2011.  You can add and subtract the toppings of your choice, but the pomegranate gives the dish a nice crunch of flavor.  Serves 4.
4 ½ cups water
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup steel-cut oats, cooked
¼ cup pomegranate seeds
3 tablespoons pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)
1 orange skin removed and segmented
¼ cup maple syrup or honey
½ cup milk

Bring water and salt to boil.  Whisk in grains.  Return to boil.  Reduce heat to low.  Simmer, stirring often, for 35 to 40 minutes.  Top with milk, pomegranate seeds, orange, pepitas, and maple syrup or honey.  Serve immediately.

Some more pomegranate recipes to consider:
Sweet Cousous with Fresh Pomegranates from The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen
Persimmon and Pomegranate Salad with Arugula and Hazelnuts from Sunday Suppers at Lucques
Eggplant - Pomegranate Relish from The Martha Stewart Living Christmas Cookbook
Pomegranate Gelato from Gourmet Today
Garlic Cole Slaw With Pomegranate Seeds from My Kitchen in Spain
Persian-Style Chicken With Walnut, Onion, and Pomegranate Sauce from The Gourmet Cookbook

Now go out and get yourselves some pomegranates!

1 comment:

  1. Wow! These sound like really good recipes! And so pretty, too!