With the passage of each new month, chefs and restaurants are blessed with a fresh crop of seasonal ingredients. By cooking with the seasons, they not only keep things fresh on the menu, but they keep customers coming through the door to taste what's new.
One such restaurant is Luxe Kitchen and Lounge, where owner Melissa Cole is currently singing the praises of the pomegranate.
"Right now, we are loving pomegranates," she exclaims. "The fruit has that pucker-face tartness and slight acidity to counterbalance a rich dish such as our braised duck and pappardelle pasta."
The duck stock in this heavenly pasta dish is fortified with a molasses made from reduced pomegranate juice, lending it a fruity complexity. The dish is finished off with fresh pomegranate seeds.
In addition to the duck dish, pomegranates also make an appearance in the arugula salad — but not as a garnish as one might expect. Rather, the bright-red fruit makes its way into the dressing, a seductive pomegranate-balsamic elixir that dresses the perky greens. Pomegranate also lands on the popular cheese board, a perfect complement to the creamy German Cambozola.
Cole also works the seasonal fruit into the cocktail program. The Melograno — Italian for pomegranate — starts with a base of muddled pomegranate seeds, which is blended with pom molasses, Watershed vodka, lavender syrup and fresh mint.
"You can never go wrong if you stay in the season," notes Cole.
We tend to agree.
With reporting by Jason Beudert.