For many a year, in spite of the fact that I craved pomegranates with their imbedded antioxidants, I avoided buying them for fear of having to clean one! I’ve read multitudes of descriptions on wrestling the seeds out of a pomegranate, but the very best one was found (of all places) in Joy of Cooking. I have to confess - it is probably the only time I have looked at that book in years! But when it comes to practical advice, not bad.
“Use a serrated knife to slice off the blossom end of the fruit, including some of the white pith but none of the seeds. Score the rind lengthwise in 4 or 5 places. Place the fruit in a large container and cover with cool water. Let it soak for about 5 minutes. Keeping the pomegranate under water, gently break the fruit apaprt along the scoring lines. Pull back the rind and separate seeds from membranes. In the water, the light rind and pith will float and the heavy seeds sink. Use a sieve to skim off the debris, then pour the seeds and water into a colander. Pat the drained seeds dry and store, tightly covered, in the refrigerator until needed.”
The following salad celebrates the good flavors of late Fall, crisp, juicy Asian pears (apples would work), the bite of arugula, the tanginess of wonderful raw milk smoked blue cheese, sweet onions, pomegranates and a topping of freshly toasted pecan bits. The dressing adds a fig accent with its sweetness tempered by the liveliness of a little horseradish.
Asian Pear, Arugula, and Pomegranate Salad
4 C arugula, washed and torn
3 thin slices sweet onion soaked in water for 15 minutes
1 Asian pear, peeled, cut into bite-sized wedges
3/4 C pomegranate seeds
1/2 C smokey blue cheese bits (or other sharp cheese)
1/2 C toasted pecan pieces
Place dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to emulsify. Let stand while preparing salad.
Layer the bottom of a salad bowl with the arugula leaves. Arrange rings of sweet onion over arugula. Top with wedges of Asian pear. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and crumbles of blue cheese. Give the dressing another whisk to recombine and drizzle over salad. Top with toasted pecans. Bring to table so everyone can oooh and aaaah and then toss and serve.