Pomegranate - Magic
There is definitely something magical in it (the endless bright red seeds that symbolise prosperity) and majestic (the crown on the head of a perfectly round crimson ball); pomegranate is the perfect fruit.
At Ottolenghi we use it mainly for salads, where it introduces colour and crunch, but also to scatter over desserts and sometime also as part of a salsa.
Around the Mediterranean pomegranates grow on small trees, small in proportion to the size of the fruit and to the number of fruit it gives. In season, the fruit are literally all you see of the tree and of the ground around it.
Yotam can still remember how, at the age of 5, he and his little brother were banished outside, holding half a pomegranate each and clotheless, a precaution against the notorious pomegranate stains. Like two naked monkeys, they would squat on the ground picking through the flesh to get the prized seeds.
Like two naked monkeys, they would squat on the ground picking through the flesh to get the prized seeds
Sami’s trick of deseeding a pomegranate is an earth-shattering revelation to people who spend hours picking the seeds and separating them from the white membrane: halve the pomegranate along its “belly”; hold one half in your hand with the seeds facing your palm; then bash the fruit with a wooden spoon while holding it over a bowl (don’t hit too hard or you’ll bruise the seeds); magically, the seeds will just fall out.