Back to the Kitchen: The Pleasure of the Pomegranate

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BY GWEN KENNEALLY

It is that time of year where friends are showering me with pomegranates from their gardens! This jewel of a fruit was originally brought to us through the Spanish missions. Pomegranates are powerful antioxidants and just happen to be my daughter’s favorite fall and winter treat! The lush red fruit looks beautiful in a bowl and is as lovely on the eyes as the taste buds. The only edible part is the sweet and tangy seeds, and while they are widely available seeded out of the fruit, it is super simple to remove them. Cut off the top and bottoms and cut the pomegranates into sections. Place the sections in a bowl of water. Roll out the seeds and discard everything else. Strain out the seeds and enjoy in these recipes or as a yummy snack.

Pomegranate Vinaigrette

2 tablespoons mustard

3 cloves garlic, diced

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

5 tablespoons pomegranate juice

2 tablespoons mint, diced

Whisk together. Toss with mixed greens. You can place slices of apples, pears, pine nuts, and goat cheese and of course pomegranate seeds.

Pomegranate Guacamole

2 large ripe avocados

1 red onion

3 garlic cloves

2 fresh jalapeños, seeded

2 tablespoons cilantro

Juice and zest of 2 limes

1/2-teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon pomegranate juice

3 tablespoons pomegranate seeds

Finely chop the onion, garlic, jalapeños, and cilantro. Place in bowl and add limejuice, zest and salt, set aside. Peel and pit the avocados and place in a bowl. Mash with fork slowly adding the tablespoon of pomegranate juice. Add onion and garlic mixture and fold together to make a course pulp. Gently fold in pomegranate seeds. Serve with warm tortillas, tostadas, or corn chips.

Apple, Pear and Pomegranate Salad

6 assorted pears, chopped

6 assorted apples, chopped

1-cup pomegranate seeds

½ cup pomegranate juice

Juice and zest of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons cinnamon

2 tablespoons Chinese Five Spice

1-tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

Gently toss together all of the ingredients. Let stand for one hour. Don’t worry about it turning brown, the cinnamon and five spices do a great job of hiding it!

Golden Beet Salad

3 golden beets (you can use red beets or a pretty combo)

1 red onion, diced

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/4-cup pomegranate juice

Juice and zest of one orange

1 cup pomegranate seeds

Salt

2 cups arugula and butter lettuce leaves

1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Roast the beets at 375°F for an hour. Let cool. Peel and dice into 1/2-inch cubes. In a 10 to 12-inch nonstick frying pan over high heat, boil beets, onion, pomegranate juice, orange juice and zest stirring often, until liquid is reduced to 2 tablespoons, 5 to 7 minutes. Let cool to room temperature, or chill airtight up to 1 day. Stir pomegranate seeds into the beet mixture and salt to taste. Divide the greens on four plates and top with beet mixture. Sprinkle with feta cheese.

Pomegranate Chicken

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts

1-tablespoon cumin

2 tablespoons cinnamon

2 tablespoons turmeric

1-tablespoon chili powder

1 red onion, chopped

1/4 cup walnuts, ground into a paste

1-cup pomegranate juice

Zest of 1 small lemon

Pomegranate seeds and mint for garnish

Heat oil in pan over medium high heat. Brown chicken and transfer to a plate. Add spices and onion to skillet, and sauté until soft. Return chicken to the pan and add pomegranate juice and nut paste. Stir mixture to thoroughly coat the chicken. Simmer for 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and sauce has reduced. Finish with a bit of lemon zest and garnish with pomegranate seeds and mint.

Roasted Salmon with Pomegranate and Avocado Salsa

2 teaspoons ground coriander

2 teaspoons sugar

Salt, as needed

1 pomegranate, seeded

1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion

3 tablespoons fresh limejuice

2 teaspoons finely chopped jalapeno pepper or to taste

1 large clove garlic, chopped finely

2 avocados, preferably Hass, cut in 1/2-inch dice

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

Mix coriander, sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt; reserve. Up to 4 hours before serving, mix pomegranate seeds, onion, limejuice, jalapeno, and garlic; gently fold in avocado. If holding more than 30 minutes, put plastic wrap against the surface of the salsa, then tightly cover; 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.

To prepare the salmon, rub a generous teaspoon of the reserved seasoning mixture over each piece. Arrange the salmon on a baking sheet, skin-side down. Roast at 500˚ F 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.

Pomegranate Cheesecake

2 Pomegranates

2 Very Ripe Bananas, peeled and mashed with a fork

24 Ounces Cream Cheese, room temperature

3/4-Cup Bakers Sugar

5 Large Eggs

1-Teaspoon Vanilla

Pinch of Salt

2 cups Chocolate Wafers

4 Tablespoons Butter, melted

4 Tablespoons Light Brown Sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place the chocolate wafers and light brown sugar into a food processor. Pulse until mixture is about the consistency of very course cornmeal. (You can also crush the wafers with your hands or a rolling pin.) Put the crushed wafers into a bowl and stir in the melted butter. Press the wafer mixture into the bottom of a 9- or 10-inch springform pan. Cut the pomegranates in half. Juice three of the halves with a citrus reamer or by scooping out the seeds and pressing through a sieve. Remove the seeds from the fourth half and set aside.

Using a mixer, cream together the cream cheese, sugar, and salt. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the bananas, pomegranate juice, and vanilla. Mix on medium speed until smooth.

Pour the cream cheese mixture into the prepared springform pan. Sprinkle the reserved pomegranate seeds evenly over the top of the cheesecake batter.

Place the pan onto a cookie sheet and place in the oven. Bake for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cheesecake cool slowly at room temperature for 30 minutes, and then place into the refrigerator. Let cheesecake cool completely before removing from pan, at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.

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About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.

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