If I had to be a fruit I’d be a pomegranate. What a beauty! Exotic and elegant, sweet and mysterious, with layers of treasures hidden inside for those who dare to venture, wrapped in protective layers of soft golden skin. Yes, I’d be a pomegranate.
This beauty is in season during fall and early winter and my kitchen counter is piled with mounds of this versatile fruit. I break it open, release the seeds, toss them with a bit of sugar (or not) and eat it simply (including seeds), or add it to salads, desserts, serve it with cheese or add it to chutneys, curries or other cooked dishes or use as garnish.
To break one open I cut an X on the flower end, only about an inch deep, and then pry it open with my hands. It will break along the natural segments and not damage the seeds, as would happen if you cut it with a knife all the way through. You may wish to wear thin plastic kitchen gloves for the task of undressing the pomegranate as its red juice can stain your hands and incriminate you as having done the deed.
To prevent splatter, which inevitably occurs as some of the seeds burst and splash their juicy content, I work inside a large bowl and always wear an apron. This way any splattering is caught inside the bowl (and the apron) and any adventurous escaping seeds can be caught before they go astray.
Pomegranates are rich with antioxidants and vitamins and their juice has become a popular health food. I sometimes sweeten pomegranate juice with a bit of sugar and cook It to a syrupy consistency, ready to use in desserts, glaze vegetables, drizzle a bit over sweet potatoes or use as a base for a drink.
Sweet Potatoes and Pomegranates Salad with Orange-Agave Dressing
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 dates, chopped
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
2 springs flat leaf parsley, chopped
Micro-greens, shredded radicchio or arugula
Peel and cut the potatoes into equal size dice, about 1/2 inch or so.
Place potato cubes on a foil lined baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil. Cover loosely with another sheet of foil, place in a preheated 400℉ oven and cook until the potatoes are done and just begin to turn golden. Remove from heat and let cool a little then drizzle some, not too much, of the dressing over the still-warm potatoes.
Peel and seed the pomegranate by cutting an X on the flower side about an inch deep, breaking the pomegranate along the natural break-lines and removing the seeds into a bowl.
When the potatoes have cooled to room temperature add the pomegranates and stir gently.
Add parsley, dates and walnuts and mix.
Add micro-greens. radicchio or arugula and stir gently to distribute them into the salad.
Spoon into a serving dish garnish with more greens.
Serve at room temperature.
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon honey-mustard
1 tablespoon agave syrup
2 tablespoons orange juice or 1 tablespoon OJ concentrate
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup olive oil
Combine all ingredients except oil in a glass dish. Slowly whisk in the oil to emulsify the dressing.
Taste and correct seasoning.