Recipes with Pomegranates
Let me get this out of the way before I go any further with this column: pomegranates while delicious, good for you in so many ways and truly a wonderful addition to any dish they can be a PAIN to peel. Ok, not really technically difficult, mind you, just a pain or should I say, stain. There, I said it, now I can get on with the rest of the column.
This time of year is prime time for utilizing that ruby red jeweled fruit known as the pomegranate front and center on all your menus. This fruit is native to Persia (Iran to the modern minded), and is considered one of the oldest fruits known to man.
Once you get past the bazillion seeds and weird white membrane that holds them together, you have beautiful seeds that produce a tangy, sweet, full flavored juice that becomes the basis for sauces and marinades and drinks and desserts and anything else you can think of to add them to. The flavor is equally at home with the sweet and savory flavors and is just about perfect as an accent or garnish on salads, main courses.
When choosing your pomegranate, pick one that seems heavy for its size and you want it to be approximately the size of a large softball. Pomegranates color ranges reddish yellow to a deep dark red. The color and blemishes on the skin aren’t an indication of the freshness or sweetness of the fruit, it just looks that way. Pomegranates will stay fresh up to a week if left out on the counter or for up to three months if you refrigerate them.
Peeling a pomegranate isn’t rocket science but it does take some prior planning. To get the seeds out of the pomegranate you will need a sharp knife and a large bowl of cold water. First slice off the top and the bottom of the pomegranate. You can either score the skin as you would an orange before you peel it or cut it into quarters (be careful of the juice, it STAINS). Submerge the whole or sections of the pomegranate in the bowl of cold water and peel away rind or gently pull the seeds out of the sections while it’s underwater. Break into sections, and pull seeds from the pith with your fingers. Drain seeds in a sieve and throw away the pith. Be sure to drain well.
Some recipes call for pomegranate molasses or pomegranate syrup. The molasses is just a cooked-down, thicker version of the syrup. This stuff is really first-rate food stuff as pomegranate juice contains vitamin C, A, E, folic acid and is full anti-oxidants. Yummy and oh so good for you. For your culinary convenience you can buy the fresh fruit, juice, syrup and/or molasses in most grocery stores these days. If you can’t find the molasses, you can substitute the syrup.
And finally, do you eat the seed inside or spit it out? Well, the truth of the matter is that it doesn’t matter, you choose. Know, however, most of the fiber associated with the fruit comes from the seed. It won’t hurt you and you’ll hardly even know it’s there.
One medium pomegranate should yield 1/2 to 3/4 cup of whole seed pips or 1/2 cup juice.
SALMON WITH POMEGRANET (fish)
2 teaspoons coriander
2 teaspoons sugar
Salt, as needed
1 pomegranate, seeded
1/2 cup sliced green onion
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons finely chopped jalapeno pepper or to taste
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 avocados, diced
1 head hearts of Romaine, about 7 ounces
4 center-cut Salmon fillets the same thickness, 6 to 7 ounces each
1 lime, cut in eighths for garnish
In a bowl combine the coriander, sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt and set it aside. Up to 4 hours before serving, in a bowl combine the pomegranate seeds, onion, lime juice, jalapeno, and garlic. Mix to combine and gently fold in the diced avocado. Cover with plastic wrap, making sure it’s tight against the surface of the salsa to prevent discoloration of the avocado and store in the refrigerator. Remove about 30 minutes before serving.
Separate the romaine leaves; wash, then dry thoroughly. Reserve 4 of the most attractive leaves for garnish. Slice the remaining leaves crosswise in thin shreds; reserve.
Preheat oven to 500. To prepare the salmon, rub a generous teaspoon of the seasoning mixture over each piece. Arrange the salmon on a baking sheet, skin-side down. Roast for about 11 minutes for medium rare (salmon should be spongy when pressed with a finger at its thickest part.) and 13 minutes for medium-well (salmon should be just firm when pressed with a finger at its thickest part.).
While the salmon cooks, mound 1/4 the shredded romaine on each of 4 serving plates. Top with 1/2 cup salsa. When salmon is done, let it cool slightly-- it should be warm but not hot. Put a piece of salmon on each plate; garnish each with a reserved romaine leaf and 2 lime wedges. Makes 4 servings.
POMEGRANATE PEARS (pareve)
3 firm pears, peeled, cored and cut in half
1 cup pomegranate juice
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream (optional)
Preheat oven to 350. Arrange the pears, cut side down, in a 9X13 glass baking dish. In a saucepan combine the pomegranate juice, water, lemon juice, cinnamon, and cloves. Heat to a simmer and then pour the mixture over the pears. Bake, basting frequently for 35 to 45 minutes or until pears are tender. Serve the warm pears with ice cream or whipped cream, drizzling the sauce over the top. Serves 6.
APPLE AND POMEGRANATE SALAD (pareve)
1 pomegranate, seeded
2 apples, chopped
2/3 cups chopped pecans
3 cups shredded romaine lettuce
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 small red onion diced
2 tablespoons of orange juice
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons oil
In a salad bowl combine the pomegranate, apples, red onion, pecans, lettuce and celery. In another bowl combine the orange juice, oil and honey and whisk them together. Drizzle the dressing on salad and toss to coat. Serves 4
POMEGRANATE MARINATED LAMB KABOBS (meat)
1 cup pomegranate juice
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 1/2 lbs. boneless lamb shoulder cut into 1-1/2 inch cubes
cooked rice or couscous
In large bowl, stir together pomegranate syrup, oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and garlic. Add lamb and stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 6 hours.
Drain the marinade from the meat (reserve the marinade) and then divide the meat equally between the 4 skewers. Preheat the oven to broil. Thread meat equally on skewers. Place the skewers on a broiler pan. Cook, turning often every 5 minutes, and basting with marinade until meat is well browned, about 10 to 15 minutes. Serve on a bed or rice or couscous and garnish with the pomegranate seeds. Serves 4
POMEGRANET WALNUT CHICKEN (meat)
4 chicken breasts bone-in, skin removed
1/4 cup pomegranate syrup or juice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350. Grease a baking sheet with sides. In a bowl combine the pomegranate syrup with the cinnamon, ginger and cumin. Marinate the breasts in the liquid for 10 to 15 minutes. In a bowl combine the breadcrumbs, walnuts, salt and pepper. Press the breasts into the panko mixture and then place them on the greased cookie sheet. Drizzle a little of the syrup on top of each breast and bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Serves 4.
CHICKEN AND POMEGRANATE COUSCOUS (meat)
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup couscous
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons chopped pistachios
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups cooked chicken, cut into bite size pieces (great use for leftovers)
1 cup canned garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
salt and pepper to taste
Boil the water and add the cinnamon, olive oil and salt. Stir in the couscous, cover and remove from the heat. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes. Place the couscous to a large bowl and fluff it with a fork. Add the parsley, pistachios, chicken, garbanzo beans, lemon zest and pomegranate seeds. Mix to combine and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serves 4 to 6.
POMEGRANATE VINAIGRETTE (pareve)
Seeds of 1 pomegranate
1/2 cup rice wine or apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon raspberry preserves
1/2 cup honey
salt and pepper
1 cup oil
In a blender, add pomegranate seeds, raspberry preserves rice vinegar, honey and process. Blend well. Add the preserves and oil and blend to combine. Salt and pepper to taste. Makes 2 cups.