Pomegranate's vibrant red nuggets of joy add vivid fresh colour to all kinds of dishes - both sweet and savoury. Monica shares why they're a vital part of her diet in the winter and shares a delicious vegetarian and vegan recipe using the versatile fruit.
I’ve really taken to using fruit with savoury dishes, and pomegranate
has become one of my favourites. Their little juicy seeds just beg to be scattered over salad, over hummus, over muesli, over anything! Part of their appeal is their appearance: these vibrant red nuggets of joy add vibrant fresh colour to all kinds of dishes. They also make a great substitute for tomato in a traditional tabbouleh salad (a perfect dish for winter months when tomatoes aren’t in season).
The trickiest part about pomegranate is getting out the seeds. But it’s not as hard or as messy as it seems. The trick is to cut the pomegranate in half and then bash the skin side with a hard wooden spoon or spatula over a bowl. The seeds should come right out (see this video
for a demonstration).
Pomegranate needn’t be reserved for salad and breakfast garnish. As I learned at a class with Yotam Ottolenghi
at the Vegetarian Cookery School
, pomegranate can form the basis for a punchy salsa that can be used to dress up all manners of vegetables (and even fish or meat). Here I use roast aubergine, but it would be equally good with roast squash or any kind of grilled vegetable.
Roast Aubergine with Pomegranate, Walnut and Coriander Salsa
2 medium aubergines
For the salsa:
50ml cider vinegar
2 garlic cloves, crushed
30g chopped coriander
50ml olive oil
1/2 pomegranate, seeded
Salt and black pepper
Preheat oven to 220 C.
Cut the aubergine into thick 2cm slices. Place them on a baking sheet, lined with greaseproof paper. Brush both sides of the aubergine with olive oil and sprinklee with salt and pepper. Roast for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
Meanwhile, chop the walnuts and put in a bowl with the vinegar, garlic, coriander, olive oil, most of the pomegranate seeds and some salt and pepper. Mix well, taste and adjust the seasoning.
To serve, arrange the aubergine slices on a plate. Spoon the salsa on top and sprinkle with the remaining pomegranate seeds.