Grilled zucchini with ricotta and pomegranate molasses

This fast, simple but stunning side dish by chef Timothy Hollingsworth makes grilled zucchini so much more interesting. Featured in Food and Wine Magazine.

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Servings: 6

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
2 lbs medium zucchini or yellow squash, quartered lengthwise
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and Pepper
1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
2 tbsp loosely packed tarragon leaves, chopped

Put the pumpkin seeds in a small skillet over moderately low heat and cook, stirring, until toasted, 3 to 5 minutes.
Light a grill or use a very heavy ridged pan over a hot gas flame.
Toss the zucchini with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the zucchini over high heat, turning once, until charred and just tender, about 7 minutes.
Transfer to a work surface and cut into 1-inch pieces. Arrange on a platter and top with dollops of the ricotta and the toasted pumpkin seeds. Season with salt and pepper.
Drizzle the zucchini with the pomegranate molasses, garnish with the chopped tarragon and serve.

Chicken with potatoes, prunes and pomegranate molasses

Again, here is another gem from Yotam Ottolenghi with a stunning mixture of flavors.
It is SO easy that you just throw everything into a bowl, mix well together then throw into a large baking/roasting dish. Bingo!
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Serves 4 to 6

8 whole chicken legs (each with a drumstick and thigh attached, about 4 1/2 lbs in all)
16 medium fingerling or baby Yukon potatoes, peeled
3 large onions, peeled and quartered
5 oz pitted prunes
3 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup soy sauce
6 tbsp pomegranate molasses
1 tbsp maple syrup
5 oz sweet mango chutney
1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns
1 1/2 tbsp oregano sprigs, plus a few picked for garnish

Heat the oven to 400 F
Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl, then tip it all into a large ovenproof roasting or baking dish.
Cover with a lid or thick foil and bake for 40 minutes.
Lower the heat to 350 F, remove the foil and cook for 1 1/2 more hours, stirring every now and then. If it starts to burn a bit, replace the foil or lid.

When the time is up, remove the dish from the oven, stir once more, cover and set aside for at least 15 minutes to rest and allow the flavors to mingle. Garnish with a few oregano leaves and serve with a sharp green salad and some good bread to mop up the lovely juices

Roasted butternut squash with pistachio pesto, feta and pomegranate seeds

There are limitless ways of having your roasted butternut squash, but this has to be one of the prettiest and tastiest out there. Wonderful Persian inspiration behind this dish!

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For the butternut squash

1 large butternut squash, quartered lengthways (skin-on) and seeds removed (You could try other squashes too)
4 tbsp olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 oz feta
4 oz pomegranate seeds

For the pesto

4 oz shelled pistachio nuts
3 oz parmesan cheese, chopped into rough chunks
4 fl oz oz good olive oil
1 small bunch fresh cilantro (coriander)
1 small bunch fresh parsley
1 small bunch fresh dill
1 hot red chilli or 1 tbsp chilli oil (optional)
1 lemon, juice only
2 tsp sea salt

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6 and line a baking tray with baking parchment.

For the butternut squash, rub each wedge of butternut squash with oil and season generously with sea salt and black pepper. Place on the lined baking tray.

Roast the squash for about 45-50 minutes, just until the edges have begun to brown slightly (you want to blacken the edges a little to give them a nice chewy texture). Check the squash is cooked by inserting a knife – if it slides in easily the squash is cooked.

For the pesto, add the pistachios and cheese to a food processor. Pulse to break them into small pieces and add enough olive oil to slacken the mixture to your desired consistency (you may not need all the oil). Add all the herbs, the chilli (if using) and lemon juice. Pulse again to combine the herbs and add a little more olive oil. Season generously with sea salt and give the mixture one last pulse. Taste the pesto, to make sure it has enough salt and acidity, and allow it to rest in the fridge until you need it.

To serve, serve the butternut squash on plates, drizzled generously with the pesto. Crumble your feta over the top and scatter some pomegranate seeds over to finish.

Roasted figs with pomegranate molasses and orange zest

This is a heady dessert from Ottolenghi. I have not adapted it as there is nothing I could add to enhance these exciting flavors!  I can’t emphasize enough how crucial it is to choose good, sweet, squidgy figs, no matter what you do with them. It makes all the difference.

 

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Serves 4

3 tbsp pomegranate molasses
1 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp dark muscovado sugar
4 thyme sprigs, 2 whole and 2 picked leaves
Skin of 1 orange, 3 long shaved strips and the rest grated
8 fresh figs, cut in half lengthways
4 oz mascarpone
4 oz  Greek yoghurt
1 tbsp icing sugar
Salt

Put together in a large mixing bowl the pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of the sugar, 2 thyme sprigs, 1 tablespoon of water, the orange skin strips and a pinch of salt. Mix well to dissolve the sugar and then stir in the figs. Set aside to marinate for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together in a small bowl the mascarpone, yoghurt and icing sugar until smooth. Keep chilled.

Remove the figs from the bowl (keeping the marinade) and arrange them snugly inside a small baking tray, roughly 8″ by 8″, the cut side facing up. Sprinkle the figs with the remaining sugar and put under a hot grill, clearing about 15cm from the grill. Grill for 10 minutes, or until the sugar has caramelised and the figs softened.

Meanwhile, pour the marinating liquids into a small saucepan, bring to the boil and then simmer for 2-4 minutes or until the sauce is reduced by half and has a consistency of runny honey.
Transfer the hot figs to serving plates and spoon over any leftover syrup from the baking tray, then drizzle over the sauce reduction and sprinkle with picked thyme leaves. Place a spoonful of the yoghurt cream on the side or on the figs and sprinkle over the remaining orange zest.

Serve at once.

Tomato and pomegranate salad

My friend Rose put a huge bag of pomegranates on my car seat the other day when we were recording a  score at Warner Brothers. She grows a lot of fruit and vegetables and we often chat about recipes and what’s in season.  I give her our Seville oranges when they’re in season as she too loves to make marmalade. It’s fun to have musician friends who grow and cook their own food as we can exchange recipes and jars of homemade goodies on the sessions! Since receiving this lovely gift of pomegranates, I have been researching recipes that include them. This one is a jewel in every sense of the word. To look at and to eat. Highly healthy, tasty and beautiful.

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1 1/3 cups red cherry tomatoes, cut into 1/4 ” dice
1 1/3 cups yellow cherry tomatoes, cut into 1/4″ dice
1 1/3 cups plum or tiger tomatoes, cut into 1/4″ dice
1lb medium vine tomatoes, cut into 1/4″ dice
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/4″ dice
1 small red onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp ground allspice
2 tsp white wine vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra to finish
1 large pomegranate, seeds removed (about 1 cup seeds)
1 tbsp small oregano leaves
salt

Mix together all the tomatoes, the red pepper and the onion in a large bowl and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, allspice, vinegar, pomegranate molasses, olive oil and a scant 1/2 tsp salt until well combined. Pour this over the tomato mixture and gently mix.

Arrange the tomato mixture and it’s juices on a large, flat platter. Sprinkle the pomegranate seeds and oregano over the top.
Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and serve.

Lime and Pomegranate chicken thighs

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This is a recipe from another great food blog, “A View from Great Island”
Very clean and zingy tasting and great for a healthy, light dinner.

Serves 2

For the chicken
1 cup Greek yogurt (I used 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup pomegranate juice (not the juice drink)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
4 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
pomegranate seeds for garnish (optional)

For the glaze
2 cups pomegranate juice (I used 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (I used the juice of 2 limes)
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard

Set the oven to 400F
To marinate the chicken, put the yogurt, pomegranate juice, salt, garlic and chicken in a large zip lock baggie. Massage everything until well combined. Put in the fridge to marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight. I turned the bag over once or twice.
To make the glaze, put all the glaze ingredients in a saucepan and whisk to combine. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and boil for about 20-25 minutes until reduced and thickened. Set aside.
Preheat a grill pan over medium high heat until screaming hot. Take the chicken out of the marinade, and let the excess liquid drip off before setting the chicken, skin side down, on the grill. Don’t move it for a minute or so until it gets nice dark grill marks.
Flip the chicken over, and then transfer to a baking pan that has been lightly brushed with olive oil. Bake the chicken for about 30-40 minutes, or until done through. Spoon a generous amount of glaze over the chicken, and garnish with the pomegranate seeds and lime wedges. Serve right away.

Braised Turkish chicken

So many interesting flavors going on here, and all in one pot! I love “one-pot cooking.

Serves 4

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 large free range chicken thighs
1 yellow onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves
1 red pepper, sliced in rings
1 small eggplant, diced into 1 inch chunks
1 green chile, sliced, with seeds
Handful of fresh thyme, tied together with string
1/2 tsp cumin seeds (I roast my own as they are more pungent)
4 oz of spiced Turkish sausage, or chorizo, skinned and sliced in 3/4 inch pieces
2 oz fine bulgar wheat
6 Medjool dates, pitted and sliced
2 tbsp tomato puree
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
17 fl oz chicken stock
2 tbsp pomegranate molasses or tamarind paste
1 small cinnamon stick
1 star anise

Pre-heat the oven to 375 F

Heat the olive olive oil in a heavy based saucepan until almost smoking and season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper and a splash of oil.

Put the thighs in the pan, skin side down and cook until the skin is nicely browned.

Lift them out and then add the onions, garlic, eggplant, chile, thyme, cumin and sausage for about 12 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.

Add the bulgar and dates, followed by the tomato puree and stir well.
Pour in the red wine vinegar, followed by the chicken stock, pomegranate molasses, cinnamon and star anise and bring to the boil.

Turn the heat off and nestle the thighs back in so that the flesh is under the liquid but the skin is still sticking out.
Put a lid on the pan and put it in the oven for 40 minutes.
When you take it out, remove the lid and leave to stand for 5 minutes.
Serve with great bread.

 

Roasted Delicata Squash, Pomegranate and Arugula Salad

This is a gorgeous show stealer for the Thanksgiving table. You can roast the Delicata squash the day before if there is no room in the oven on the day.

Serves 4 to 8

Salad
2 medium delicata squash, around 1 and 1/4 lbs total
1 tbsp olive oil
Fine grain sea salt
4 heaping cups baby arugula (or mixed greens if you prefer)
2/3 cup pomegranate seeds (or a generous handful of dried cherries or cranberries)
1/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas) or pecans
4 oz Greek feta cheese, crumbled

Maple-balsamic vinaigrette
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp real maple syrup
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 F
Wash the squash and scrape off any tough bits of skin with a knife. Slice the squash into 1/2 inch rounds. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds from each round. Drizzle the squash with a generous tbsp of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt.
Use your fingers to lightly coat all the surfaces of the squash with olive oil.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until the squash is tender and golden, flipping halfway.

In a medium skillet over medium-low heat, toast the pepitas (or pecans), stirring frequently, until they are fragrant and lightly golden on the edges. Remove from the heat.
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and Dijon mustard with a pinch of salt and pepper.

Once the squash has had a few minutes to cool, combine the arugula, pomegranate (or dried fruit), pepitas (or pecans), crumbled feta and squash in a serving bowl. Toss with enough dressing to lightly coat the leaves. Serve immediately.

Yields 4 substantial side salads or up to 8 small servings.
To make this recipe vegan, skip the feta or serve it on the side.

Camargue red rice and quinoa with orange, pistachios and pomegranate seeds

Another gem from Ottolenghi!

Serves 4

1/3 cup shelled pistachio nuts
1 cup Camargue red rice
1 cup quinoa
1 medium onion, sliced
5 fl oz olive oil
grated zest and juice of 1 orange
2 tsp lemon juice
1 garlic clove, crushed
5 scallion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup dried apricots, roughy chopped
1/2 cup wild arugula or rocket
seeds from 1/2 pomegranate
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 300F
Spread the pistachios out on a shallow baking tray and toast for 8 minutes, until lightly colored.
Remove from the oven, allow to cool slightly, then chop roughly. Set aside.

Fill 2 saucepans with salted water and bring to the boil. Simmer the quinoa on one for about 12 to 14 minutes and the rice in the other for 20 minutes.
Both should be tender but still have a bite. Drain in a sieve and spread out the 2 grains separately on flat trays to hasten the cooling down.

While the grains are cooking, saute the white onion in 4 tbsp of the olive oil for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Leave to cool completely.

In a large mixing bowl combine the rice, quinoa, cooked onion and the remaining oil.
Add all the rest of the ingredients, then taste and adjust the seasoning.
Serve at room temperature

Kisir

Delicious and very simple. (Ottolenghi)

Serves 4

2 large onions, finely chopped
2 fl oz olive oil, plus extra to finish
2 tbsp tomato puree
4 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
4 fl oz water
about 14 oz medium bulgar wheat
1&1/2 tsp pomegranate molasses
1 tbsp lemon juice
6 tbsp chopped parsley
3 tbsp green onions, finely shredded, plus extra to garnish
2 fresh green chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp roasted ground cumin
about 4 oz fresh pomegranate seeds
a good handful of fresh mint leaves, some whole and some roughly chopped
Salt and black pepper

Place the onions and olive oil in a large pan and saute on a medium heat for about 5 minutes or until translucent.
Add the tomato puree and stir with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and simmer on a low heat for a further 4 minutes.
Now add the water and bring to the boil. Remove immediately from the heat and stir in the bulgar wheat.
Next, add the molasses, lemon juice, parsley, green onions, chillies, garlic, cumin and some salt and pepper.
Stir well, then leave aside until the dish reaches room temperature or is just lukewarm.
Taste it and adjust the seasonings, it will probably need plenty of salt.

Spoon the Kisir onto serving dishes and flatten it out roughly with a serving spoon, creating a wave-like pattern on the surface.
Scatter the pomegranate seeds all over, drizzle olive oil and finish with chopped mint and green onions