There was a large, rambling pomegranate tree living alongside our back fence when we were growing up.
In summer the fruit would begin to appear and eventually, come autumn, the tree would be weighed down with large leathery red globes, hanging temptingly over the ivy-covered fence and just begging to be plundered by the inquisitive little girl in the neighbouring yard.
I think what appealed to me so much as a child (and indeed what I still appreciate now) was breaking open the tough and weathered exterior to discover the intricate seams of tiny, glittering rubies within.
Navigating between the layers of the fruit’s inner structure, the challenge was picking out every last little red bead until nothing remained but the waxy cartilage.
The pomegranate I used for this recipe was given to me in passing by a dear friend and even years later, evoked those memories of a simple pleasure; a ripe pomegranate eaten in its most pure, organic form, with sticky fingers and dappled autumn sunshine…
grilled haloumi, aubergine & mint salad
with pomegranate dressing
3 baby aubergines, sliced
2 small fennel bulbs, sliced lengthwise and fronds reserved
200g haloumi, cut into thin wedges
½ cup finely shredded fresh mint
seeds from half a fresh pomegranate
3 tbsp lemon juice
handful of chopped flat-leaf parsley
handful of chopped young fennel fronds
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Oil a large griddle pan and place over medium-high heat.
Once the pan is hot, add the first lot of aubergine slices in a single layer and grill for several minutes on each side until charred and soft.
Remove from the pan and place on a layer of absorbent paper.
Repeat with the remaining aubergine and fennel slices, adding a little oil in between batches to prevent the pan from becoming dry.
In a separate frypan, heat a small amount of olive oil over medium heat and fry the haloumi slices for a couple of minutes each side until golden brown.
Remove and drain on absorbent paper.
For the dressing, whisk together all the ingredients. Taste and adjust the amounts of honey or olive oil if required (you’re after a pleasant balance of acidity and sweetness).
When ready to serve, arrange the grilled vegetables and haloumi on a serving platter and sprinkle with the fresh mint.
Drizzle over dressing over the top and scatter with fresh pomegranate seeds.