fennel, prosciutto and pomegranate salad

I cannot resist buying pomegranates. When they start start popping up in stores each year, I have to take them home with me and either beg Alex to take them apart in his neat or organized way (show off), or do it myself and splatter the walls and my shirt and stain my fingertips a telltale pink for days (typical). It’s all worth it. They are this seafood-phobic’s caviar.


But aside from, well, you know, eating them straight, which is nothing to complain about, I rarely know what to DO with them. What does one make with pomegranates? Oh, I am sure all of you creative people have 100 ideas. You make pomegranate upside down cakes and delicate custards with whole seeds suspended in them. You freeze them into bubbly sorbets. But me, I just have this salad.


Oh, and I didn’t even eat it. Yeah, that’s right. I’m telling you about a recipe–in fact, encouraging you to make it–that I haven’t even tasted. I have some nerve. But really, I was stuffed. We had too much food at the election night party and I put this out late, when even eating a bite of it would have sent me over the edge. (Or worse, rendered me too full to eat dessert.) Yet everyone loved it, picked at it and eventually left none on the plate for me to eat the next day when I was all “who ate all my food?”

So you should make this. It’s really, really good. I hear.

fennel, prosciutto and pomegranate salad

Two years ago: Homemade Whole Cranberry Sauce, Alex’s Mother’s Cranberry Sauce and Cranberry Sauce with Port and Dried Figs

Fennel, Prosciutto and Pomegranate Salad
Adapted from Bon Appetit, November 2008

Serves 4 to 6

2 cups very thinly sliced fennel bulb
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
6 cups arugula (about 4 ounces)
1 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/4 cup thinly sliced mint leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
6 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, torn into strips
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

Toss fennel and 1 tablespoon olive oil in medium bowl. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. (Planning ahead? I did this a day in advance.)

Combine arugula, green onions, mint, vinegar, and 2 tablespoons olive oil in large bowl; toss. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide greens among plates. Top with fennel, then drape with prosciutto. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds over. (We did this totally out of order. We’re fired.)

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90 comments on fennel, prosciutto and pomegranate salad

  1. stacy

    looks good (I don’t like fennel and don’t eat prosciutto, but the colors are amazing). My favorite things to do with pomegranates:

    a) freeze the seeds and eat them plain or–even more fun–float them in sparkling wine

    b) toss in a salad of baby spinach and crispy fried onions. mmmmm.

  2. neha

    oh i love pomegranates too!!!
    one of the ways i like to eat it is by mixing it with plain yogurt!
    pomegranate stains are messy! i usually score the skin with a sharp knife on four sides and then pull it apart (it avoids splaterring and doesn’t break any of the seeds) :)

  3. Lola

    Looks fabulous, as usual! About dismantling the pomegranate: I saw Alton Brown pull one into halves, then remove the seeds under water, letting them drop into a colander. It looked like a very simple and effective way of harvesting those luscious little jewels. I think the man’s a genius, so I’m sure it would work.

  4. Marilee

    I must try this. I think there is something so beguiling about a pomegranate . . . brings to mind popping pomegranate morsels into your mouth while lounging on beautiful cushions and being fanned with palm fronds . . . or something like that. Hmmm, where did that come from? :)
    Anyway, I saw a wonderful looking cheesecake while cruising through TasteSpotting recently that uses pomegranates and POM juice. Check it out if you’re looking for more pomegranate recipes:

  5. I always remove the seeds under water…it works really well and there is no mess. The seeds sink to the bottom and the roughage floats to the top. And no stained fingers either! This recipe looks wonderful…three of my favorite foods all in one place!

  6. Kate

    Underwater is the way to do it – no splattering! Also, the pith floats and seeds don’t, so it’s easier to separate.

    I’m not sure those seeds would make it into my salad – I just eat them by the handful – can’t stop! Looks delicious, though, so I may need to impose a little self-discipline.

  7. I agree with Kate. I always cut mine apart and pick the yummy bits out in a bowl of water. Although, the only thing I use pomegranet for, and it really defeats the purpose of being neat with them… I give them to my parrots, they ADORE them. We have a very short season with them here on the Central Coast in Australia, so I get as many as I can, pick them apart and freeze about a cup (each) in zip lock baggies. I cook for my birds (yes, I’m crazy) and I just take a frozen lot of pome out of the freezer and add it to whatever I cook for them. It assures they eat something other than seed, plus they have to move all the vegies they don’t like out of the way so they can get to them, whch means in the end, they eat more good for them stuff… I’ll stop rambling now… ;-)

  8. The very first time I used a pomegranate was for our supper club recently. They were a garnish for the most incredible cipolline onions I found on Epicurious. The recipe said you could substitute dried cranberries but I overcame my fear of seeding them and was so very happy I did – there is no substitute. The onion dish is going to grace my Thanksgiving table for sure.

  9. Marilee

    Deb, there are several videos on YouTube on how to remove pomegranate seeds underwater. Here are two of them:
    Produce Picker Podcast: How To Cut Open a Pomegranate – Episode 7

    Secret Underwater Pomegranate Trick

    I’ve watched them both, and they make it look quite easy. :)

  10. Mmmmm, I love this and plan on making it as soon as possible.

    I make a great couscous salad with pomegranate, cucumbers, mint and mache, goes well with an old Nigella Lawson NYTimes recipe for Chicken Tikka. Beautiful to look at too. Not terribly Italian, but I will post this recipe in my blog soon.

  11. i simply eat them with yoghurt, oats and granola as a very fancy and delicous breakfast. but this salad sounds great,too, i’ll have to look for a vegetarian substitute for the prosciutto though.

  12. Melanie

    Deb I’ve been lurking for a while and love all the recipes!
    I make a pomegranate bark with either bittersweet or dark chocolate. Just remove the seeds under water and then pat dry. Melt as much chocolate as you like and mix in the seeds. Pour into a parchment or wax paper lined jelly roll pan and let harden. Break into bark pieces. It’s so good and you can justify eating a whole pan full as being great for your heart if you use dark chocolate!

  13. I love, love, loooove pomegranates! We always have a stock of them at home; towards the end of the season we juice them and freeze them so that we can enjoy them all year round (pomegranate juice freezes well). My favorite recipe is a simple pomegranate and guava fruit salad – I posted it on my site in case you are curious.

    Oh, and I recently received a tip on the easiest way to seed pomegranates: just cut it in half and beat the skin with a wooden spoon and you’ll find most of the seeds fall out (seriously!)

    Thank you so much for your fabulous recipes!

  14. I love pomegranates! Everything about them – their deep jewel-red color, their taste, the sound of the seeds as they pop off! mmmm
    Like some of the other readers, I peel mine underwater – I learned it from Martha :)

  15. Pomegranates are one of my favorite things, period! I recently taught my best friend how to seed one…halfway through, she had me take over and it looked like a crime scene on her side of the counter! I’ve done a couple of great recipes involving pomegranates. I think I’ll try to squeeze in a couple more while they’re still in season!

  16. Mel

    Oh, I’m disappointed. I was going to be the smarty-pants who told you to take apart a pomegranate under water. But many others chimed in already. I will say, though, that it works like a charm!

  17. Absinthe

    I second Nirvana’s tip, although I use a heavy metal ladle as I saw Martha Stewart do once. Works wonderfully, although the underwater trick sounds great, too. Melanie (comment 21), I’m intrigued by the pomegranate bark and must try this, with the dark chocolate, of course, so it’s health food ;-)

  18. Catherine

    One showstopping appetizer with pomegranates:

    Spread one container of plain hummus prettily on a serving plate, top with 1 cup of pomegranate seeds, one good handful of toasted pine nuts with garlic salt, and one handful chopped cilantro. Serve with toasted naan pieces. It’s killer and it’s gorgeous – perfect for the holidays.

  19. Susan

    That salad sounds like a really good combination of salty, sweet and arromatic. I’ve never eaten fennel, only tasted it once. This may change that.

    Our neighbor has a pomegranite tree (or shrub?) that’s right along our side fence. I nabbed a couple the other day but haven’t opened them yet. Like you, I know the mess that will follow, so I avoid it until I can find a ‘pigeon’ to do it for me. He’s currently on a business trip! I’ll have the fennel ready.

  20. Pomegranates are one of my absolute favorite additions to salad or just to eat by the handful.

    The best way to get those delicious seeds out is to peel apart the fruit in a big bowl of water. The seeds all sink to the bottom and all of the rind stuff that you don’t want floats! Makes it super easy and also less messy. Less of a chance of getting hit in the eye (or shirt) with a stray seed.


  21. VSE

    Two great things to do with pomegranate seeds:

    1. Sprinkle them over a salad of roasted eggplant mixed with a bit of garlicky, lemony tahina, along with some chopped parsley or mint.

    2. In this recipe from The New York Times for a spinach dish with yoghurt, use them instead of pine nuts if you are having toasted pine nuts elsewhere in the menu, like on the rice:

    Incidentally, a (very patient) friend of mine says she has counted the seeds in a pomegranate and there are indeed 613, the number of “mitzvas”– biblical commandments — an observant Jewish person is supposed to observe, though I’ve never met anyone who can recite them all by heart. Probably I don’t travel in the right circles.


  22. amy

    i will nth the in-the-water method. not uber-exciting but i’ve tossed them with sliced pears, lemon juice (for pears of course), little nutmeg & cinnamon (maybe brown sugar?). yummy fall tastes & colors. i finished off what was left over from the party with vanilla bean ice cream. nice topping.
    cannot wait to try this salad. also! pomegranate bark. good one.

  23. Sara

    I’m persian and I can prepare a pomegranate in no time at all! My Dad will often buy a small case of them and prepare them all at once and put them in a giant tupperware container in the fridge! yum!
    we use pomegranates in lots of things. in the north of iran, where i’m from, it’s featured with walnuts alot. there is a walnut-pomegranate stew with either chicken or duck that is DELICIOUS. it’s called Fesenjaan. Or you could make this great olive, pomegranate and walnut dip called Zeitoon Parvardeh.
    Check out Najmieh Batmanglij’s book “New Food of Life” for more ideas.

    i love your blog, as always.

  24. I have to make this RIGHT NOW. Meantime, I have made pomegranate jelly that people fight over. I detest the violence of eviscerating a pomegranate myself, so I just buy fresh, pure, 100% pomegranate juice at the farmers market. It’s a snap after that with your Certo and your boiled jars.

  25. Eunice

    a few years ago, Cooking Light magazine had a great recipe for pumpkin cake that is topped with pomegranate. I made it for Thanksgiving instead of pumpkin pie (gasp!) and it disappeared by the end of the evening! Beautiful and tasty too.

  26. I was just posting yesterday about how much I love pomegranates and how happy I am to see them on the shelves again as they’re back in season. I’ve linked to this recipe on my blog, I hope you don’t mind, but it looks delicious! Very good work.

  27. Sarah

    My coworker brought in some gorgeous, perfectly ripe pomegranates from her tree last week. I made pomegranate and sour cherry jelly. It’s very nice on waffles.

  28. Heather

    Amazing! My two-year-old son and I were just devouring a pomegranate an hour ago (I think he thought it was candy…) and I thought, “I wonder if there’s anything else I can do with these while they’re in season…”. Ask and you shall receive, I guess!

  29. Janet

    Yum, that looks and sounds fantastic! Since Thanksgiving is coming up and you’re wondering what other pomegranate recipes are out there, Epicurious has a wonderful recipe for roast turkey with pomegranite glaze. I made it for T’giving a few years ago (my first time ever making a turkey!) and it was such a hit that my in-laws made me do it again at Christmas. I didn’t know about the seeding trick then — seeding them the first time was so time-consuming that I cheated the second and used ready-made pomegranete (how do you spell that word?!) juice. The pre-made juice wasn’t nearly as good as the fresh, home-made, which was just divine.

  30. Amber

    Yum! I love pomegranates also. I make a salad with the seeds, field greens, and shelled, salted pistachios, with a very simple sherry vinaigrette that’s also delicious, if you’re looking for another salad inspiration. The salty pistachios and tart pomegranate combo is divine.

  31. Interesting timing again. :D I recently joined an organic produce delivery service, where they drop off a bin of fresh fruits and veggies once a week. They pick what goes into the bins, which sometimes forces me to get creative with new foods. Not a bad thing. We’re getting pomegranates this week, and their website recommended a pom/banana salad and a (separate) recipe for a pom vinaigrette which sparked my interest:

    Seeds from 2 pomegranates
    1/2 cup rice vinegar
    1/2 cup honey
    Freshly ground black pepper
    1 cup virgin olive oil
    In a blender, add pomegranate seeds, vinegar, honey salt and pepper. Blend well. Slowly add olive oil while continuing to blend. Adjust seasoning and strain.

    Now, I have still another option. Many thanks!

  32. I have been picking up a couple pomegranates ever time I am at my farmers’ market. I second the use of a big bowl of water to get the seeds out of the pom without much mess. I can even get my kids to do the work for me. But then they eat all the seeds before I can get to them.

  33. These photos are so gorgeous, and is anything prettier than a partially deconstructed pomegranate? I love the idea of proscuitto and fennel together with the little pop of the sweet seeds. I have to try this!

  34. michele

    I had pomegranate seeds sprinkled on a risotto at a nice Italian restaurant the other night. Tried it again on my own risotto tonight – WONDERFUL.

  35. Michelle

    I love pomegranate!! my mother use to give them to me when i was little to keep me occupied (kept my mouth shut too!) for hours. But i have a question, do you eat the hard part of the seed or do you spit it out? i’m asking because when i was young i would only eat the red part and spit the hard part out. Thanks!

  36. chavi

    I receive Bon Appetit in the mail and took one look at this recipe and knew I had to make it. Since I only eat kosher, I found a kosher version of Proscuitto (only in Israel!) and the salad was amazing. Everyone commented on the melding of flavors and colors.

  37. Nicole M

    I made this last night and it was great! I always cut the pomegranate in half and then whack it with a wooden spatula so all the little red seeds fall onto the salad. I showed my m-i-l that trick for topping her “fruits of Israel” (which is far different from any recipes I’ve seen on the web) and she was actually impressed!

  38. Emily

    Underwater is the way to go! It’s almost too easy.
    The first time I ever cut into a pomegranate was in the seventh grade when we were learning about Mediterranean food. My teacher brought one to class for everyone to try – and I volunteered to cut it. Little did I know she would make me wear a giant black garbage bag (with holes for my arms!) over my shirt. You can image my mortification at the delicate age of 12.

  39. Tone

    One of the few times I watched Martha, she was doing a show w/ a Pomegranate recipe. She cut in in two and used a spoon to whack it.
    I up the ante by cutting it, then using a wine bottle to whack the hell out of it until most of the seeds are freed (I have largish hands, which may make it easier for me..whats not so easy is cleaning the mess of the back wall by the sink. Definitely worth it, though)
    In the fall, I frequent chinatown and stock up on 3 for $5. Then the bf and I have one each morning.

  40. Kathy

    I have the same question that Michelle has – do you spit out the hard part? I confess that has kept me from becoming a pomegranite fan. I like the juice, but spitting out seeds in company just doesn’t feel very couth to me.

  41. Meg

    New to pomegranate, learning about them because we have a tree in the yard (not blossoming or fruiting…yet). When we hear about sprinkling the juicy seed pods in a salad, we’re confused. Within the juicy pod is a nut-like seed. Do you chew and/or swallow that? — Thank you!

  42. Karyn

    Thank you for posting this recipe. When I saw it on your blog in November, I knew that I had to make it for Christmas — all of those tiny ruby-red jewels against the green salad make it so festive. I made it twice in two days, and both families raved about the salad, so thanks again for helping me make a special holiday meal for our families!

  43. Eily

    This was amazing. The perfect flavor and texture combination, and visually stunning. I made it for a firehouse dinner (20 emergency responders, on shift, with a definite meat-and-potatoes bent). I thought it might be too… too, but they loved it. Fennel, pomegranate, and all. I can’t wait to make it again.

  44. I’ve got some pomegranate recipes if you’re interested. I’ll think seriously about posting them on my blog. And yes, I realize you posted this long ago and probably forgot and don’t care about getting more pomegranate seed recipes anymore, but hey, I just now found your blog, and I’m really enjoying the reading. And I’m making my grocery list based on what I’m finding here today, so I blame YOU if I go over budget this week.

  45. rose

    Made this tonight – yum. Added celery and had to use strawberries in place of the pomegranates because we couldn’t find them, but it was really good! We also sauteed the prosciutto for some extra crunch. Will definitely make again and can’t wait to try it with pom seeds!

  46. Ann

    So strange. I also made a pomegranade salad with arugula. I used fennel seeds instead of fennel. I just added things together and it turned out very good. And now I see a similar recipe. Next time I add fennel and prosciutto.

  47. adie

    tried this tonight for dinner w/ a bit of local crusty bread from an amazing bakery (not my kitchen!) and loved it. The hubs and I enjoyed this as a different, no cooking thursday night dinner. ;) I can see a heaping bit of this with a piece of prosciutto on top (to hold things together) on a thin grilled slice of french bread as a yummy app.

  48. Joseph

    I’m in grad school and brought this to a dinner at a professor’s house. It was a huge success. Very sophisticated and delicious, but still simple. And its just gorgeous.

  49. Thank you Deb for yet another fabulous recipe – I just got around to posting this salad today. Gorgeous colors, just downright sexy.

    Hope you and your cute family are doing well! :)

  50. joy

    In answer to your question about what to do with pomegranates–make Georgian food and garnish away! The vegetable pate appetizers (pkhali) are especially delicious with pomegranate seeds.

  51. Spyglassweb

    Amazing! The flavors meld better than you may think. The veg, friut and herbs taste so fresh, then the prosciutto adds such richness and depth. I wasn’t sure when chopping the mint, and was concerned about adding so much fennel, but the flavor was not too strong – proportions are perfect! I made one large salad for a pot-luck, rather than dress individual plates. A bit expensive for a salad, but good around this time of year and great color!

  52. Madeline

    I just made this for a brunch. I had a few non fennel eaters that were chagrined that I was serving a salad with fennel. I told them I prepped the fennel the nite before and that it was probably not a strong as they were used to…..lets just say I had to whip up more arugala because they ALL loved it! My sister is now making this for her neighbors and I will be making it again for Christmas dinner!!! It is simple and beautiful to look at!!!

    Thanks for the great recipe! I am thinking that in the summer time a little avocado and citrus would be great as well! Yum!

  53. Syl

    I just made this salad and it was delightful. It tasted better than I had imagined. I could eat this non stop. I will definitely make this when I have guests. Thank you for the simple yet exotic recipe! :)

  54. Emily

    Couldn’t find pomegranates – I guess they have a “season”, or at least, the market in central NH isn’t big enough to get them year round. Anyway, made it with beets instead. And it has become my go-to salad for guests or a potluck. Thank you!

  55. Renee

    I’m hosting dinner this week and need to modify one portion for a vegetarian friend. Do you think that crumbled feta or parmesan shavings (or something else?) would be a good salty alternative to the prosciutto?

    Thank you for all of the wonderful recipes and tips. I love this blog!

  56. Jenna Harris

    I want to make this for a work event but thinking it would be better to go veggie. am thinking about substituting roasted chickpeas. Thoughts?