What’s in the box – 27/28 April

by Amanda McInerney on 01/05/2011

Mooch on over here to see the full list of contents for this week.

This week I thought I’d take a look at pomegranates which are in season and stunning.  Many are a little bemused by them, but there is no need to be – and I’ll show you why.

The pomegranate is a small tree or shrub native to the region of Persia and the Himalayan area where it has been cultivated for thousands of years.  It is very drought tolerant and will grow almost anywhere, but prefers a sunny dry climate and has been grown in the Riverland of South Australia and Victoria for many years.  Pomegranates are a good source of the vitamins C and B5, are thought to be effective in reducing heart disease and are currently being touted as one of the super-foods, although I always think a little scepticism is healthy when such claims are made.

Pomegranates are highly valued for the beauty of the fruit and it’s jewelled seeds and the fruit and juice are widely used in Persian, Indian, Pakistani  and many Middle Eastern cuisines.  They can be juiced by cutting them in half and juicing in a citrus press, or the seeds can be extracted by halving them, turning them over and hitting the back of the fruit firmly with a spoon until the seeds fall out.  The seeds are frequently used as a garnish and pomegranate juice is used in many recipes, as is a pantry essential –  pomegranate molasses.

A favourite recipe of mine is one by Yotam Ottolenghi from his book “Plenty”.  This is a fantastic salad and one in which the flavour of the pomegranates really shows through.  It is, like anything I really like to cook, dead simple, only taking a bit of time to cook the eggplant.

: Burnt Aubergine with Tahini
  1. 1 large aubergine (eggplant)
  2. 70 gms tahini
  3. 60 mls water
  4. 2 tsp pomegranate molasses
  5. 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  6. 1 clove garlic, crushed
  7. 3 Tbsp chopped parsley
  8. 1 small cucumber, chopped (optional)
  9. 90 gms cherry tomatoes chopped (optional)
  10. seeds from 1/2 large pomegranate
  11. olive oil
  12. salt & pepper
  1. Burn your aubergines by char grilling the entire, uncut aubergine on a barbeque until the skin is charred and the fruit is soft inside, taking care not to break it up. Alternatively, char them over a gas flame on the stove, turning frequently and making sure they don’t catch fire.
  2. When cool enough to handle scoop out the flesh into a colander and drain for 30 minutes.
  3. Chop the flesh roughly and combine with tahini, water, pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, garlic, parsley and some salt and pepper; mix well with a whisk. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  4. If you choose to, add the cucumber and tomatoes at this stage and stir through.
  5. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and serve.

I am generally fairly generous with the pomegranate molasses ‘cos I love it and I always add the cucumber and tomatoes.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time:

Number of servings (yield): 4

5 :  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Kate May 2, 2011 at 6:37 am

Pomegranates seem to be the flavour of the month – seeds and juice especially !!

tracey May 2, 2011 at 10:03 am

so you buy the pomegranate molasses from a supermarket? it is more than thickened pomegranate juice?

Amanda May 2, 2011 at 11:54 am

Tracey – yes it is different, it is reduced, and therefore concentrated, pomegranate juice.

Mandy - The Complete Cook Book May 2, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Pomegranates are my hubby’s absolute favourite from childhood. It wonderful to see his enjoyment when eating one.
I must confess though, never having cooked with one before. Your recipe sounds fabulous.
:-) Mandy

Barbara May 2, 2011 at 2:54 pm

I adore pomegranates.

kel May 2, 2011 at 11:10 pm

Kate, flavour of the month- yes! we are seeing a resurgence of seasonal eating!

Anna Johnston May 3, 2011 at 6:48 am

Pomegranates & I are getting a whole lot better acquainted this season, have to admit I hadn’t experimented with them much, but now I can’t imagine life without them :)

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