Pomegranate Dressing or Relish
It’s pretty easy to clean a pomegranate, just cut it in half and pull the edges than knock it on the outside with a spoon and the seeds fall out. However, at Harvest Share this week, I got two packages of already cleaned pomegranate seeds. Sadly, however, they were already past their sweet spot and had turned sour and vinegary. I know some people would toss it out, since it was beginning to change, but pomegranate is acidic and just being past its prime does not make it a home for bacteria, just very sour flavor. I knew I could fix it and enjoy this fruit I really love. I just had to figure out how. Since it was already very vinegary, it made sense to use it as a sort of vinegar and make a salad dressing or a relish. But first I had to figure out what could balance the sourness. I pulled out aromatic spices like nutmeg, cardamom, and anise and tried a few grains with one pomegranate seed to see what I liked best. Both the nutmeg and the cardamon tried, but they added heat as well as balance and I wanted to make it more mellow, so I chose anise.
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- ½ tsp anise seed
- 2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
- ½ yellow onion
- 8 oz pomegranate seeds
- 4 TBSP rice vinegar
I put 2 tbsp of olive oil in a sauce pan with ½ tsp of anise seed and heated to release the oils and flavor the oil. I then added 2 tsp of minced fresh ginger. I sliced ½ of a yellow onion into slivers and added to the olive oil, cooking until tender. I then added the 8 oz package of pomegranate seeds and cooked just until it started to break down. I added 4 TBSP of rice vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. This made enough dressing for 4 large salads. It would also work well as a relish on the side where you might use cranberries, with pork, turkey, or sausage.
Here are a few salads made with the dressing. A simple salad with pecans and feta. A dinner salad with chicken sautéed with a bit of Old Bay. A dinner salad with some carne asada marinated in soy sauce and vinegar with some garlic, pears charred on the electric burner, and feta cheese.
Spring Mix & Baby Spinach, Pecans, Feta and Pomegranate Dressing.
Spring Mix & Spinach with chicken and Pomegranate Dressing.
Pomegranate Dressing on salad with Charred Pears, Carne Asada and Feta.
This was very fast and easy to make.
First I boiled some water for couscous. I put 1/4 cup of couscous with 1/2 cup of boiling water in a bowl and put a lid on it to soak up the water while I cooked the rest.
Then I put 2 tsps of olive oil in a skillet on medium heat. I added 2 TBSP of chopped onion and a small sliver of fresh ginger, some salt and pepper and cooked until tender. I cut a 3 oz. piece of boneless pork loin steak into small pieces and added them to the onions. Meanwhile, I pitted 6 fresh cherries and cut them in half and chopped up about 1/2 of fresh cilantro.
When the pork was done, I added the cherries and the couscous. I added two packets of sweet and sour sauce I had saved from a takeout from Panda Express. I don’t use many condiments except mayo and mustard. I don’t like ketchup and buying any condiments is just a waste, so I save a few from when I eat out. They come in handy as I didn’t want to make a batch of sweet and sour this size and probably won’t make something using sweet and sour sauce for months. So, I mixed in the two packets and added the cilantro at the end. This made one serving. It was flavorful, with sweetness from the cherries and tang from the ginger and onions and a nice freshness from the cilantro. The sweet and sour sauce could have been left out, it would still be good, but I liked how it married the flavors.
I made the rice ahead using 1 cup of rice and 1.5 cups of water with a dash of salt. I rinsed the rice, added it to the water and brought it to a rolling boil in a solid saucepan. As soon as it hit a rolling boil, I put a lid on it and removed it from the heat. 20 minutes later it was done to perfection.
I put some peanut oil in a saute pan (I don’t have a wok.) and set it on medium heat. I added 2 TBSP of yellow onion, 2 minced cloves of garlic and about 1.5 inches of fresh garlic, minced. Next I cleaned and minced 1 jalapeño pepper. While they sautéed, I cleaned and sliced 2 mushrooms, 1/2 stalk of celery and 1/4 of a red pepper. I tossed them in. I then chopped a 6 oz piece of boneless pork loin and added that in to cook. I put a lid on the pan for about 2 minutes.
I had a container with about 1 cup or so of fresh pineapple. I added 1/4 cup of white vinegar and let it blend with the pineapple juice. I added 1 tbsp of soy sauce and swirled it around. When the pork was nearly done. I added the pineapple and liquids to the pan and stirred it all together. It took about another minute to warm the pineapple.
I dished up a half cup of rice and put half the sauté pan full of sweet and sour pork on it. This made two large servings.
I don’t like breaded, battered sweet and sour pork and don’t care for the sweet and sour dressing that tastes sort of like ketchup and honey. This is a very light taste of sweetness from the pineapple more than balanced by the sour of the vinegar and soy. There’s plenty of heat from the jalapeño and ginger. The strong flavors balance each other perfectly without dominating.
I chopped up 1 pound of raw carrots and put in a pan with water and brought to a boil. I let cook just a few minutes, until they lost the snap-crunch of raw carrots but retained a softer, toothsome firmness with just a bit of crunch. I drained, ran cold water over them to stop them cooking and put them in the fridge to cool off.
In a bowl, I put 2 tbsp of olive oil, juice from two lemons, 2 tsp of ginger root and 1 tsp of honey (I used buckwheat honey for its hearty flavor.) and added a bit of salt and pepper to taste and stirred until the honey was completely blended in. I added 1 cup of finely sliced red onions, the cooled carrots, 1 cup of chopped fresh cilantro and 1/4 cup of toasted almonds. I chopped them up before toasting them in a dry fry pan.
The sweet and sour blend of flavors and the firm textures of this salad are delightful. It’s a simple, easy summer salad that adds a lot of color and flavor. This makes 4 generous servings.