Pomegranates are the most festive of fruits. Their beautiful garnet skin is the very color of Christmas cheer. Not only is the color of a pomegranate regal but the shape is that of a plump orb topped with a jaunty little crown, suggesting royalty.
Like the best jewelry boxes, the fine exterior of a pomegranate hints at, but pales when compared to, the beauty of the jewels that lie within. The pomegranate's bright skin is packed full of even brighter arils; the crunchy edible seeds enrobed in translucent bits of juicy crimson fruit. These abundant little fruits shine with festive color and are perfect for dressing up holiday dishes, both sweet and savory.
Here I have used jewel-like pomegranate arils to embellish a composed salad. This combination of crab meat and avocado with a simple dressing relies heavily on the quality of the crabmeat and the perfect ripeness of the avocado so choose your ingredients with care. The finished salad can be served as a first course for dinner or as festive party fare.
Jeweled Crab and Avocado Salad
½ avocado, sliced
4 oz crab meat, well drained
1 Tablespoon pomegranate molasses
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 Tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Line a 7-ounce ramekin with plastic wrap.
Arrange the sliced avocado to line the bottom of the dish overlapping the pieces so that the dish is evenly lined.
Drain the crab meat, pressing excess liquid from the meat gently using the lid of the can or a white paper towel.
Arrange the crab meat on top of the advocado. Turn the ends of the plastic wrap over the crab meat and press it firmly into the ramekin. Set the ramekin in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Prepare the dressing by whisking together the pomegranate molasses, vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.
Remove the avocado crab mold from the refrigerator. Pull the plastic wrap open and away from the crab. Unmold the salad onto a small serving plate. Carefully remove the plastic wrap from the salad.
Scatter the salad and plate with pomegranate seeds.
Drizzle with Pomegranate Dressing.
Serve with crackers or baguette slices.
Note: To make Pomegranate Molasses stir together 1 cup of pomegranate juice and 2 Tablespoons of honey or sugar in a small saucepan. Simmer the mixture until it is reduced to between ¼ and ½ cup, or approximately 30 minutes.