Friday, September 11, 2009

Mystical Pomegranate

Pomegranate season is here! ... It's been a couple of weeks since I started seeing pomegranates appear in the supermarket and it reminds me that Rosh Hashanah is just around the corner.
In the past, I never really paid much attention to this fruit. Removing the seeds seemed somewhat of a laborious task, and I only eat some once a year during the high holidays. It is only recently that I learned to appreciate Pomegranates and started using them in various dishes all year around. This mystical and exotic fruits' popularity has been growing significantly due to its high antioxidant content and related health benefits. The Pomegranate has long be heralded as one of the great healing fruits in many regions and belief systems. In Rosh Hashanah we eat pomegranates as a symbol of abundant goodness. Jewish tradition holds that a pomegranate has 613 seeds, representing the 613 mitzvot that we are supposed to keep. We eat pomegranates as a symbolic gesture in the hope that our merits will increase like the seeds of a pomegranate.
Although there is no doubt that it would not hurt to earn a few merits for my spiritual growth, I like Pomegranates not only because they are tangy, sweet and delicious but also because the ruby-red jem-like seeds makes all kinds of dishes look beautiful and flamboyant. No question about it... pomegranate is one of my favorite foods.


On my endless search for interesting and exotic edible ideas, I found this incredible recipe that contains some of my favorite ingredients: Pistachios and Pomegranate. (From "Turquoise" by Greg and Lucy Malouf)

  • 3/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup pitted green olives, washed and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup unsalted shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 2 small shallots, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 red serrano chile, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon shredded flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon walnut oil
  • -- Splash of pomegranate molasses
  • -- Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • -- Sea salt
  • -- Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions: Preheat the oven to 350°. Scatter the walnuts onto a jelly-roll pan and roast for 5-10 minutes until a deep golden brown. Pour the nuts into a tea towel and rub well to remove as much skin as possible. Chop the walnuts coarsely and toss in a sieve to remove any remaining skin and dust.

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and toss gently. Leave to stand for 5 minutes or so before serving, to allow the flavors to meld.


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