By Rosie Hawthorne on November 15, 2019
We can all agree that the pomegranate is a lovely fruit, but what does one do with it? Rosie’s here to help you with that. I have an appetizer, an entrée, and a dessert, all using the beautiful crimson seeds, or arils, from the pomegranate – first as a pop of tart flavor with oysters on the half shell, then in a vibrant reduction sauce for seared scallops, and finally as an accent for a frozen dessert.
First, we have to get into the pomegranate to get the goods. Slice it in half and, holding each half over a bowl, spank it with a wooden spoon, letting the arils fall into the bowl along with the juices. Squeeze halves to dislodge any remaining seeds and to get all the juice. Discard the rind and the fleshy membranes.
For my appetizer, I’m going with oysters on the half shell topped with a spinach mixture and accented with piquant pomegranate seeds.
In a medium skillet, melt the butter. Add onion and cook, stirring, for a minute. Add spinach and stir until just wilted. Add cream and red pepper, stirring to combine. Remove from heat.
Top each oyster with a teaspoon or so of the spinach mixture. Add bacon, Parmesan, breadcrumbs, and a sprinkling of arils. Run under a 450° broiler for about 5 minutes or until the cheese melts and the panko is slightly browned.
My entrée is seared scallops lazing in a pomegranate pool with a side of black rice. Toasted walnuts, orange zest, green onion spirals, and ruby red arils enhance both flavor and presentation.
Prepare the scallops: Tear off that little tough “foot” muscle on the side of each scallop and discard. Rinse scallops and pat dry. Season with freshly ground pepper.
Prepare the pomegranate reduction: In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup pomegranate juice, 1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar, 1 TB honey, and a sprig of rosemary. Bring to a slow simmer and reduce to about ¼ volume. This will take about 20 minutes. Discard rosemary and remove from heat. Whenever I’m reducing a sauce, I place the saucepan inside a cast iron skillet to diffuse the heat as a precaution against burning.
Cook the scallops:
Pour a thin film of peanut oil in a heavy skillet over medium high heat. Add 2 TB unsalted butter. When the butter starts foaming (about 375°), add the scallops, one at a time. Resist temptation to move them around in the pan. After about 2 minutes, turn scallops over and cook another 1 ½-2 minutes. Remove from pan. With the pan off the heat, pour in white wine. Return to heat, carefully tilting pan to ignite (The fun part!). Scrape up the goodie bits; that’s where all the flavor is. Pour in orange juice and stir until reduced by half. Drop in butter, one TB at a time, stirring until melted. Pour over scallops.
To plate: Mound black rice on plate. Add toasted walnuts and chopped and curled scallions. Pour a pool of pomegranate reduction onto plate and place seared scallops in the juice. Sprinkle with orange zest and pomegranate arils.
For the ultimate fall dessert, try this frozen cranberry cream crowned with pomegranate jewels. Sweet and tart make for a perfect finish.
Cranberry and Pomegranate Cream
Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight.
Drain any accumulated juices from the cranberries.
Stir in the marshmallows and the drained pineapple.
Whip heavy cream in large mixing bowl until it begins to thicken.
Beat in powdered sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form, 3-5 minutes.
Fold whipped cream into cranberry mixture, 1/3 at a time, until fully incorporated.
Transfer to 8 x 8 inch baking dish.
Before serving, garnish with pomegranate arils. Drizzle with honey, if desired.
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