Sometimes an ingredient slips into your kitchen and lingers, hanging around in the cabinet waiting for you to discover it, play with it, and you end up say, “Wow!” This is what happened to me with pomegranate molasses.
Pomegranate molasses is pomegranate juice that is cooked down until it concentrates into a thick, luscious, tart syrup. Over the years, I’ve used a teaspoon here and a drizzle there, but the full magic of pomegranate molasses didn’t hit me until I started using it in a starring role – I hadn’t been using enough to really take note of that fruity, tangy, richness.
This month in our Tasting Jerusalem cooking group we’re focusing on pomegranate molasses, which features prominently in some Middle Eastern dishes. I was eager to grab my bottle and start cooking!
The first recipe I made from Jerusalem was the Fried Cauliflower with Tahini. Rather than frying, though, I roasted the cauliflower which is always my favorite way to prepare it. I then tossed it with green onions (the recipe calls for a variety of fresh herbs but I only had green onions on hand) and then dressed it with a mix of tahini paste, Greek yogurt, lemon juice and pomegranate molasses. This dressing is unbelievably good – tart and creamy – and I’ll be making it again soon.
Sparked by this delicious dish, I began thinking of other ways to use pomegranate molasses in a more abundant way. As I was starting to take a photo of the bottle, there were some very ripe tomatoes on the table and seeing them in the background inspired me to pair these ingredients together.
I chopped up the tomatoes and, having just replenished my fresh herbs, I added a shower of woodsy thyme, bright mint, earthy parsley and green onions. To dress these lush tomatoes and fragrant herbs, I mixed pomegranate molasses (a lot) with olive oil and gently tossed it all together. Some toasted walnuts added crunch and reminded me of the traditional Persian dish, fesenjen, which has a sauce of ground walnuts and pomegranate molasses. A spicy bite from red chile rounded it out. I spooned the tomatoes and herbs over a bed of arugula and we dove into this pretty salad. And my bottle of pomegranate molasses sits in the front of the cabinet now.
I’m excited to be heading back to Seattle for the International Food Bloggers Conference this weekend and hope to see many of you there!
Herb and Tomato Salad with Pomegranate Dressing
1 1/2 pounds tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
1/3 cup thyme leaves
1 cup mint leaves
1 bunch Italian parsley, roughly chopped
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
1 small red chile, minced
1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
1/8 cup olive oil
Salt to taste
2 cups arugula
In a large mixing bowl, gently mix the tomatoes, walnuts, herbs and chile together. In a small bowl, stir together the pomegranate molasses and olive oil and drizzle over the salad. Stir a little bit and add some salt to taste. Place the arugula on a serving platter and spoon the salad on top before serving.