[POM] “Something In the Way She Moves…

…is Like No Other Pomegranate.”  I am not kidding!

In recently re-reading Paul DuNoyer’s 2002 retrospective about George Harrison on the subway, I realized that I somehow missed this tasty little tidbit regarding the mystery surrounding arguably George Harrison’s most beloved song, “Something.”  As Mr. DuNoyer wrote:

“The author had already found his first line (‘Something in the way she moves’) in the title of a James Taylor song. Taylor was an Apple discovery, making his debut LP in London while The Beatles were recording the White Album. Now, for the second line, Harrison wondered how the lover attracted him. ‘Like a cauliflower,’ suggested Lennon, just to get over the hump. Until ‘no other lover’ occurred, though, George made do with ‘pomegranate’.”

Though I am never at a loss for inspiration in imagining new POM Wonderful recipes, I was inspired to somehow incorporate this newly-discovered bit of information into something tasty, but I couldn’t quite figure out how.  That is, until I exited the subway, walked down 52nd Street and entered an elevator to take me up to the 32nd floor at work with one of my rather easily excitable co-workers:

Rather Easily Excited Co-Worker:  “These friggin’ tourists are driving me crazy.  They move like molasses!”

Indeed, the seasonal Spring migration of tourists has finally kicked into high gear in NYC.  My day job is steps from Rockefeller Center and I truly enjoy watching visitors enjoy the city, helping with directions and offering suggestions and recommendations.  I have been told by random New York natives that this, along with my lingering Chicago accent and penchant for saying “Good morning!” are dead giveaways that I am not a native.  And, on this, I call, well, I’ll be polite here – I call foul.  I have caught the most ornery, cantankerous and irritable native New Yorkers clandestinely providing lost visitors with the best subway routes, directions to the best cup of coffee in the neighborhood, the best places to catch cabs, their cell phones to make calls, and advice ranging from the best flea market to the best pastrami (Katz’s in New York, Langer’s in the entire world, in case you were wondering how I would respond to such an inquiry).  Therefore, I don’t believe these NYC “you’re-nice-so-you’re-not-originally-from-here” claims.  Sure, I am working on developing a thicker skin but, in terms of helping those in need, I think the only difference is that I simply don’t care if I’m caught being helpful.

In complaining about visitors to our fair city, though, the inspiration for this month’s recipe was born.  Homemade pomegranate molasses!  Though the speed of molasses was tragically proven to be a myth, the saying still has a certain tasty charm to it.  Pomegranate molasses is something that frequently finds its way into meals at my apartment.  Given the volume of pomegranate molasses that I use, I have found it more cost-efficient and, frankly, tastier to make my own.  I have more control over the final texture and can add additional flavorings to suit my taste, be it citrus, cardamom, hot chilies or, in this case, freshly-ground black pepper.  Here is my recipe for Black Pepper Pomegranate Molasses:

BLACK PEPPER POMEGRANATE MOLASSES

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper

4 cups POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice

1/2 cup raw sugar

Technique:

In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the freshly-ground black pepper, POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice and raw sugar.  Place the saucepan over medium-low heat and cook over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  The mixture will start to create a bit of a foamy top.  Perfect!  At that point, reduce the temperature to low and allow the mixture to glisten, thicken and reduce to a scant 1 cup, usually about 60 minutes.  Remove the pomegranate molasses from the heat and allow it to cool in the saucepan for 30 to 45 minutes at room temperature.  You can either use it immediately or store it for up to 4 months in an air-tight jar in your refrigerator.

LOW and SLOW is the name of the game…

Now, what the heck to do with this stuff, this molten, spiced pomegranate goodness?  Here are some of my favorites:

Poured Over Vanilla Gelato or Greek Yogurt

I know.  It is practically too simple but, paired with a couple of homemade or store-bought ginger snaps, this is a killer dessert.

Black Pepper Pomegranate Molasses-Roasted Chicken

Simply whisk together 3 tablespoons of Black Pepper Pomegranate Molasses with the juice and zest of 1 lemon, 1 tablespoon fresh minced mint, 3 pressed garlic cloves, 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil and a generous pinch of salt.  Throw the squeezed lemon carcasses into the chicken cavity, rub down the chicken all over with the Black Pepper Pomegranate Molasses mixture, pouring any left over marinade into the cavity to keep the lemon company, and roast in accordance with your favorite method.  The result will be a skin somewhere between a good home-roasted chicken and a Chinese roasted duck in that it will be crunchy and, in some areas, crackling.

Over Braised Greens

I sometimes overdo that final splash of vinegar when I braised collards, dandelion greens or chard.  If I withhold that temptation and drizzle in some Black Pepper Pomegranate Molasses at the end, it adds a depth of smoky tanginess without the heavy handedness that I sometimes use with sherry, red wine or balsamic vinegar, and adds just the perfect amount of zing.

Drizzled Over Hash ‘n’ Eggs

There is just something about that tangy sweetness over a poached egg ‘n’ hash at brunch time.  I usually crave a little something sweet after such an indulgence, and that touch of Black Pepper Pomegranate Molasses just nails it.  My favorite is my Ras el Hanout Arctic Char and Roasted Potato Hash (feel free to e-mail me for the recipe if you’d like – it takes a bit of time, but I think it is well worth it).

As a Vinaigrette for Roasted Vegetable or Peppery Greens Salads

To make a great, sturdy vinaigrette that can stand up and compliment both roasted vegetable and peppery green salads, here’s an idea:

Serves 6 to 8 (6 for an entrée-sized salad and 8 for a first course salad)

3 cloves garlic, pressed

1 teaspoon prepared Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons Black Pepper Pomegranate Molasses

1/4 cup balsamic or raspberry vinegar

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

Whisk the garlic, Dijon mustard, Black Pepper Pomegranate Molasses and vinegar together until blended.  While whisking, add the extra virgin olive oil in a steady stream and whisk until emulsified.  Season with Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste.

I have used this recipe in several different ways, but my favorites have been an oven-roasted root vegetable mixture tossed with the vinaigrette with toasted almonds and shaved feta:

And, as a dressing for peppery greens (in this case, young arugula) with roasted butternut squash, shaved red onions and Parmesan, red chile flakes and toasted pecans:

Black Pepper Pomegranate Molasses is up and ready to go for whatever you might be in the mood for because, as we know, there is just something in the way she moves…

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