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Ingredient of the Week: Pomegranates

Pomegranates can be juiced, seeded, made into cocktails, or even salad dressings with tips from Tom Douglas and Thierry Rautureau.(AP File Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

It’s pomegranate season, and chefs Tom Douglas and Thierry Rautureau have some great ideas to put this beautiful fruit to use.

It can seem intimidating, but getting juice out of pomegranates is surprisingly easy. Thierry suggests gently rolling your poms on the counter for three to four minutes.

“Then poke a little hole in the bottom, and the juice comes right out,” he says. Tom has a more conventional way of juicing them, saying he quarters them and juices them the way you would an orange or a grapefruit. “It does splatter, though, so be careful if you’re wearing white,” he adds.

Tom also says there’s an easy way to get to the seeds. Take a paring knife, he says, to the “little tulip part at the top.” Make a 1-2 inch slit, and put your thumbs into the opening, and pull the top apart. “You’ll see the little seeds and a yellow membrane,” he says. The juicy part of the seed is stuck in the membrane, and you can just put your thumb on them and roll them out.

Thierry adds that there’s no easy way to do it, unfortunately, and getting to the delicious seeds does take some effort.

The hottest thing to do with pomegranates, Tom says, is making pomegranate cocktails. “Take an ounce and a half of vodka, an ounce of pomegranate juice and maybe a half ounce of canton liqueur, and mix those together,” he says. “And I like doing a toasted whole anise pod and a really long orange zest,” as a garnish.

Thierry would prefer to make his pomegranates into a dressing. “I love to make a smoked duck breast for a salad, cold, and then make a nice pomegranate dressing.” He suggests reducing a quarter cup of juice over low heat by a third. Make sure you simmer, he says, instead of boiling, because the flavor will keep better. Add a drop of red wine vinegar, a drop of Dijon mustard, and some canola oil. He says you should finish the salad with some fresh pomegranate seeds.

Tom says look for pomegranates that are bright red and firm, and they’ll keep on your counter for a week or two.

Whole Foods Markets are a proud sponsor of Seattle Kitchen’s Ingredient of the Week.

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