In case you were not aware, it’s pomegranate season! I’ve been seeing displays of pomegranates at the grocery store for a few weeks now, but it wasn’t until this past weekend that I really saw any that looked great. If you are not familiar with pomegranates, there are two things you should know: 1.) they are kind of a lot of work, and 2.) they are totally worth it!
If you are shopping for pomegranates, you’ll want to look for a few things. First, you want the pomegranate to be nice and firm – no soft or mushy spots at all. Second, it should be BRIGHT in color; pick the brightest, pinkest one you can find. Third, it should be big and heavy. Bigger means more arils (the arils are the bright red seeds packed inside), and heavier means more juice. I don’t think I’ve ever seen pomegranates being sold by weight – so you want your $2 to buy you the biggest one you can find!
As I said, pomegranates are kind of a pain in the butt to break down. They require some patience, and some work – and if you’re not careful, your kitchen will end up looking like someone had some sort of tragic run-in with the business end of your chef’s knife. Trust me on this one. If anyone is interested, I can put together a post on the quickest and easiest way to break down a pomegranate; just let me know if you’re interested!
In addition to being deliciously addictive, pomegranate seeds are beautiful! Adding them to any dish – a salad, a vegetable side dish, or anything else you can come up with – will immediately make it look more festive and appealing. I love to keep them on hand during the holiday season, so that I can use the seeds to add some brightness and color to any dish that needs it.
Anyways, all that is a really long way of saying: I bought some pomegranates last weekend! And I used them to liven up some green beans, and it was delicious. You should probably try these, and soon.
Green Beans with Orange, Goat Cheese, and Pomegranate Seeds
serves 6-8 as a side
1 lb green beans, trimmed
3 oz goat cheese, softened
salt and papper
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1.) Start by blanching your green beans. If you don’t know what that means, here’s a quick tutorial: Bring a pot of water to a boil, and salt it once it begins boiling (about 1 T of kosher salt will do). Add the green beans, and let them hang out for 2 minutes, until they’re bright green. Remove them to an ice bath (a large bowl filled halfway with ice, and the rest of the way with cold water), to stop the cooking. Let them cool down in the ice bath for 2-3 minutes, then drain them and dry them well with paper towel.
2.) In a small bowl, zest your orange (being careful to only get the bright orange part of the skin, and none of the bitter white pith). Add your softened goat cheese, and use a spatula to combine the two. Set aside.
3.) Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and add about a tablespoon of olive oil to it. Add your blanched, dried green beans to the hot skillet, and briefly saute them, tossing them frequently, about 2-3 minutes. Add a pinch each of salt and pepper, and the juice of half your orange, and toss the beans with the juice, allowing them to cook for one minute more.
4.) Place the green beans into a serving dish, and crumble the orange goat cheese on top; sprinkle liberally with pomegranate seeds, and serve!
Should I be embarrassed to say that my husband and I ate a POUND of these green beans by ourselves? Because we did. They were just SO good!! Both the orange and the pomegranate seeds add some sweetness and a tart bite to the dish, and the creamy goat cheese is a nice contrast to the crispness of the green beans. Not to mention, the whole thing is quite festive looking!
If you want to prep these ahead of time (either for a holiday gathering, or just a weeknight meal), you can blanche the green beans up to a day before you plan to serve them; just dry them well, put them in a ziploc bag with a paper towel, and throw them in the fridge. You can also make the orange goat cheese a day ahead; just cover and refrigerate.
My point is, you should probably make more than you think you need,