10 Ways Tuesday: Pomegranate

Pomegranate (c)2011 LaDomestique.com

I’ve got creative ideas for cooking with pomegranates in Winter:

1.  Dip

According to the encyclopedic Starting with Ingredients, the Turkish dip, muhammara, is named for its color resemblance to red brick. Pomegranate molasses, red bell peppers, walnuts, and cumin come together in a zippy purée that threatens to dethrone your hummus addiction. Serve muhammara with flatbread, vegetable crudités, or as a sandwich spread. For the recipe, check out Paula Wolfert’s version (from her book, The Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean) over at Saveur.

2.  Pomegranate Seeds in Salad

The king of the beautifully composed salad, Thomas Keller, shares a recipe for Little Gem Lettuce Salad with Citrus, Pomegranate, and Honey Vinaigrette in his cookbook, Ad Hoc at Home. The bright flavors and colors bring a festive spirit to this refreshing salad. Lettuce wedges are glittered with pomegranate seeds then dressed in a vinaigrette of honey and champagne vinegar. Segments of citrus like orange and grapefruit are juicy and refreshing while walnuts provide crunch and tarragon lends a licorice note. I’m also into this Pomegranate, Endive, and Blue Cheese Salad over at Martha Stewart.

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Ingredient of the Week: Pomegranate

Pomegranate (c)2011 LaDomestique.com

Pomegranates have been around a long time. A native of the Middle East, the pomegranate was written about in the Old Testament of the bible. They are like the armadillo of fruits. On the outside, pomegranates are normal enough: blushing red globes that fit in the palm of your hand. However, their leathery skin belies an ancient mystery. Can you think of another fruit with such a texture? Slice a pomegranate open and find yourself covered in burgundy juice. Their insides are strangely attractive, almost like the caverns and honeycombs of a wild beehive. Instead of sweet, juicy flesh, the pomegranate offers a multitude of seeds which must be cleaned of all the bitter white membrane before eating. It’s a messy job, but well worth the trouble. The seeds are attached to ruby-red sacs of sweet and sour nectar. Add them to salads, sautéed greens, and roasted vegetables for a festive garnish. For me, pomegranates ease the sadness that comes when farmers markets close for the winter and I’m left with only the supermarket and its fluorescent lighting. The fresh fruit is good for seeds and juice, but there is also a pantry product called pomegranate molasses. It’s a thick, concentrated, maroon-colored liquid with a complex sweet and sour flavor. Pomegranate molasses is embraced in Middle Eastern cooking. Its role is like that of balsamic vinegar in glazing roasted meats and vegetables, dressing salads, or livening up dips for bread and crudités. Tomorrow is 10 Ways Tuesday at la Domestique, and I’ve got creative ideas for using pomegranate seeds, juice, and pomegranate molasses in your winter cooking.

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