Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Born in the depths of the ancient Fertile Crescent is more than the legacy of civilization but also a fruit perhaps wrongfully interpreted for an apple. The pomegranate is a plump, round, red-skinned fruit that if bitten directly into would cause a rather distasteful experience. However, unwrapped and within is reveal a case filled with crimson jewels explosively juicy with a sweet/sour satisfaction. The seeds themselves can be taken straight from the fruit with the additional taste of bitter nuttiness. Or, scooped into a sieve and pressed to extract the rosy libation that engulfs the seed kernel.

The pomegranate sings a versatile note in so far as it is content to be employed for both savory and sweet applications not to mention the faddish splash with vodka.

Buy pomegranates that are firm to the touch and a deep red hue. If store at room temperature were there is little humidity the fruit will dry up leaving a lovely table-scape d├ęcor. Though now on the market is a proliferation of bottled juices that can be used though I highly recommend you make sure they are un-sweetened. And, for a curious and delicious culinary adventure find pomegranate molasses which is a syrupy reduction of the juice.

Apple Pear Salsa - yields approx. 4 cups

2 Granny Smith Apples - peeled and cored
2 Pears - peeled and cored
1 Pomegranate - juice only (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup fresh Lime juice
1 small Red Onion - diced fine
2” long piece of Ginger - peeled and diced fine
1 tablespoon fresh Thyme - chopped
1 tablespoon fresh Italian Parsley - chopped
2 tablespoon fresh Chives - chopped
White pepper and salt to taste

Cut the apples and pears in to a small dice and toss with the pomegranate, and lime juice. Toss together with all other ingredients, and let sit one hour before using.

Lamb Tenderloin with Dried Fruit Strudel - yields 12 servings
1 cup dried apricot
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried blueberries
1 cup dried cranberries
1cup red wine (preferably Pinot Noir or Zinfadel)
1-cup pomegranate juice
2 tablespoons dried Rose petals (prepared for making tea)
1/2-teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1-teaspoon salt
2 cups pistachio nuts - ground to a coarse meal
1-pound phyllo dough
1-pound butter – melted

Rough chop the apricots. Mix with blueberries raisins and cranberries in a large bowl.

In a 3-cup saucepan combine the red wine, pomegranate juice, rose petals, black pepper and salt. Bring to the mixture just to the boil then reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook for 5 minutes covered. Shut off the heat, and let the mixture steep for 10 more minutes.

Strain the mixture directly over the dried fruits. Cover the bowl and let sit, at room temperature for 12 t 24 hours.

Pre heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Strain the dried fruit reserving the soaking liquid in a small saucepan. Reserve the soaking liquid. Toss the dried fruit and the pistachio nuts together.

Lay a sheet of phyllo out on a clean work-surface and lightly brush the entire sheet with melted butter. Repeat this process three more times so that it is four layers of phyllo. Spread a third of the fruit mixture across the bottom third of the phyllo leaving a 2 inch boarder at the very bottom. Carefully roll phyllo, but tightly, around the dried fruit. Paint with rolled strudel with a bit of melted butter, and cut three vent holes into the strudel. Repeat with the remaining fruit mixture.

Place the strudels on a baking tray and cook in the oven for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve slices drizzled with reserved soaking liquid.

Lamb Tenderloin Fillet
3 pounds lamb tenderloin fillets
1-teaspoon ground cumin
1/2-teaspoon ground coriander
1/4-teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8-teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4-teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2-tablespoons Dijon mustard

Trim the lamb of the fat and sinew.

In a small bowl mix the spice and mustard to together, and then rub the lamb with the spice mix. Refrigerate the lamb for 8 to 24 hours.

Remove the lamb from the refrigerator, and season with salt. Grill the lamb for about 10 minutes over a moderate direct heat. Remove from the grill, and rest the lamb for 10 minutes at room temperature. Slice the lamb on an angle and serve accompanied with the dried fruit strudel and a drizzle of mint oil.

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