Diverse colours and flavours of the Mediterranean in pomegranate recipes

Pomegranate is a perfect blend of colours and flavours of the Mediterranean. This particular fruit is a prefect decoration adorning gardens across Dalmatia and the coastal region.

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In addition to being recognisable by its stunningly bright red flowers that blossom all summer long, the pomegranate tree or shrub bears unique fruits that capture our imagination during the autumn and all the way to late January. In folk medicine pomegranate seeds are used to boost health during the winter, but they also make a charming and delicious addition to quite a few dishes. Not only will they give every specialty a refreshing, somewhat citrusy note, but it will also make it an unforgettable sight.

Pomegranates have just appeared in markets all over Croatia and this is the best time to reap its culinary benefits. Given that it’s fresh, we trust you won’t make a mistake when buying pomegranates. But you can always ascertain if it’s heavy when you pick it up, which means it’s full of juice, or if it has a shiny skin, which means it’s just been picked. Pomegranate is a fruit that you can store for a long time, but it’s best to use the ingredients when they’re as fresh as possible.

A new culinary season always stirs our imagination when it comes to preparing food. Aside from the classic ingredients you’re used to, be sure to give pomegranates a chance as this ingredient is becoming increasingly popular in restaurants as well. Pomegranate is a safe bet if you’re preparing breakfast, lunch or dinner. It’s most commonly used fresh. If you’re preparing a sauce, syrup or jelly, the preparation is extremely fast and simple.

To kick off your day in a healthy and delicious way, you can add cleaned pomegranate seeds to a fruit salad or a breakfast with your favourite cereals or oat flakes. It also goes great with barley and nuts, especially almonds. Pomegranate makes a fabulous addition to salads. You can try it in lentil salad with baked root vegetables or in a combination with cucumbers, corn, yogurt salad dressing and poppy seeds sprinkled on top. Aside from salads, pomegranate is great in side dishes you can prepare with pumpkin or Brussels sprouts. You can serve these side dishes with chicken, beef, lamb or your favourite fish fillet.

Pomegranate marinades are a staple in the Mediterranean region and they’re particularly tasty if you’re preparing lamb, duck or pheasant. They are also fantastic when combined with homemade meat pâtés or spreads.

In order to get an impression of just how common pomegranate is in Dalmatian restaurants, we had to get a glimpse of their kitchens. The Split-based restaurant Mazzgoon is located in the Diocletian's Palace itself. They’ve just rolled out their new autumn menu that gives guests an opportunity to relish several pomegranate delicacies. As the owner Sara Alfirević Vrsalović puts it, its health benefits are the prime reason why pomegranate has been included in the new menu.

Pomegranate goes great with salty or sweet dishes. Our guests will be able to try it out in an interesting and true autumn salad. Fresh cep mushroom carpaccio is the prime ingredient, then we have baby spinach, pear emulsion, škripavac cheese and pomegranate. We’ll also use pomegranate to prepare a sauce to be served with aged Croatian beef or aged black Slavonian pork. The sauce is prepared similar to a marmalade. We boil sugar, pomegranate juice and Mediterranean spices. When the sauce thickens, we serve it with the meat. Guests will also get a chance to enjoy a drink containing pomegranate. We’ve come up with a cocktail that contains fresh homemade pomegranate juice.

While we were on our tour of Split, we just had to pay a visit to restaurant Noštromo where head chef Zlatko Marinović, one of Croatia’s most awarded chefs, is constantly coming up with new exciting delicacies.

Unfortunately, pomegranate is not a common sight in our restaurants, even though this is a local ingredient that definitely deserves our attention. We use pomegranate balsamic vinegar and add it to shark pâté or use the vinegar to prepare a sauce. The sauce is prepared by adding pomegranate balsamic vinegar to the sugar. The sauce is then slowly reduced. When the sauce is done, we use it to decorate the plates. Tuna steak or tuna carpaccio with salad and boiled asparagus go great with the sauce.

Pomegranate is almost a signature ingredient of the famous Ston restaurant Sorgo, which is located in the very south of Croatia. Antea Mlinarić, the restaurant’s owner, was more than happy to share some of their pomegranate recipes with us.

We have lots of tourists coming over and they’re always blown away by wild pomegranate growing in the backyards adjacent to the restaurant. They’re happy to hear that we prepare it and that they’re able to try out specialties made from this, what some may consider, exotic fruit. We also like to use pomegranate because it’s known to lift your mood.

At restaurant Sorgo you can try pomegranate as you have your welcome drink. We make homemade pomegranate liqueur. We also prepare a hot and cold salad. Aside from pomegranate, the salad contains grilled tuna, roasted peppers and goat cheese ripened in bellows. The cheese is crumbly and has a distinct flavour to it. In addition to its distinct flavour, the cheese is interesting as it ripens in bellows made from goat stomach for six or even nine months.  We also use pomegranate is desserts to decorate our chocolate cake.