Sunday, January 31, 2010

Red jewels for dinner....

This morning when I was at the market I was drawn to a basket of beautiful red pomegranate fruit and I decided to make this delicious, tart fruit the centerpiece of tonight's dinner. I just love the beautiful jewel red of the kernels, and the crunch as the seeds explode in your mouth and you get a hit of that gorgeous pomegranate juice. I have ramped up the pomegranate flavour of my dish by also using pomegranate balsamic as a base for the dressing. It you are unable to find this ingredient, try mixing a little pomegranate molasses with a little vinegar. It will be an acceptable substitute for the balsamic.

Pomegranates are used a lot in middle eastern cuisine, so that is my inspiration for tonight's dish. I have combined the flavours of mint, the spice of cumin, cayenne and paprika, the creaminess of whitebeans and organic yoghurt, the crunch of pomegranate and walnuts and teamed them together with fresh scallops and barramundi. One of the real joys of this dish is the fantastic array of textures, as well as the contrasting flavours.

If you think the recipe looks a bit fiddly, don't be put off - although there are a few processes involved they are all very quick. I made this in under half an hour without even trying.

A handy hint for removing the kernels from your pomegranate. (I know some people think they are a bit of a pain in the butt to prepare) Cut the fruit in half. Break it into pieces and put it in a bowl/sink of water. Pull away the pale connective part of the fruit. The ruby red seeds will sink to the bottom and the pith with rise to the top. Skim it off and you are left with perfect kernels.

And before we look at the recipe - a Gourmet Goddess trivia fact - The tattoo you can see a glimpse of in my profile picture includes 5 pomegranates. They are a commonly a symbol for the Goddess in many cultures and pop up as symbols in many different mythologies. And if you look carefully, they are also depicted on the High Priestess Tarot card. See, you are eating fruit with a history!

 Spiced Barramundi and Scallops
with whitebean puree and mint, zucchini and pomegranate salad

You will need:
For the marinade - 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 heaped taspoon paprika, generous pinch cayenne, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, salt and pepper

For the bean puree - 1 tin white beans (I used Cannelini) rinsed and well drained, 1 tablespoon thick continental style yoghurt, 1 clove garlic, salt and pepper.

For the salad - 2 medium zucchini sliced thinly, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, 2 tablespoons finely sliced spring onions, 1/2 cup fresh pomegranate kernels, 1 tablespoon roughly chopped walnuts ( I always toast them a little in a dry pan first - it makes them crunchier and nuttier)

For the dressing: 2 tablespoons pomegranate balsamic, 2 tablespoons olive oil, pinch salt, pepper, 2 teaspoons warm water.

Plus 1 small piece of Barramundi per person, 3 Scallops per person

Method: First, combine the marinade ingredients. Cut the fish into large chunks, add the fish and the scallops to the mixture, mix well and set aside.

Whisk together the dressing ingredients and set aside.

Combine the bean puree ingredients in a food processor and blend until creamy. Set aside.

In a grill pan, cook the zucchini on both sides, until it starts to colour. Allow them to cool a little before mixing them with all of the salad ingredients.

Now cook the fish and scallops - be sure not to overcook them. Scallops literally take about 20 seconds a side. The fish will vary according to how thick it is, but it should only be a minute or so a side, if the pieces aren't too large. Allow the seafood to rest for at least 5 minutes before assembling the dish.

Now you are ready to put the dish together - start with a few spoonfuls of the puree, then combine the salad ingredients and the dressing in a seperate bowl. When combined, put a pile on top of the puree. Top with the seafood. Drizzle over any juices from the seafood and serve right away.

Serves 2 - 4 people.



  1. This recipe looks brilliant! Lucky dinner guests indeed!

  2. Thanks Jac :)The best thing was that it is minimum effort but max result. Sometimes I like that!