Wednesday 25 June 2008

scallops w sumac & pomegranate molasses

Tonight I had three girlfriends over for dinner: Yvette, Natasha and Holly (yes, you're totally in the blog Dorbs).

Poor Jonas was turfed out of the house after I press-ganged him into a day of mass cleaning and cooking.

It's 3am and he's still out with his friends. I guess that's what I get for kicking him out and telling him to entertain himself.

Well I enjoyed a lovely evening of chit-chat and catch-up and, as always, I planned an elaborate multi-course meal.

I went with a Mediterranean theme, sticking to Lebanese, Italian and Greek flavours. Although we had a quick sojourn north into Czech cuisine for a mid-course.

Welcome DrinkQuince, Pomegranate & Rosewater Martini
Amuse Bouche
Sumac Scallops w Pomegranate Molasses & Herbs
Smoked Salmon Spoons w Verjuice Currants, Feta & PinenutsEntrée
Avgolemono (Greek chicken, egg & lemon broth)
Main CourseRoast Veal w Prosciutto, Sage, Capers & Lemon
Fennel & Orange Salad
Pre-DessertBoruvkova Polevka Studena (Czech chilled blueberry soup)
DessertFig, Hazelnut & Chocolate Fudge Cake

When we cut the cake, I thought of Helena, my sister-in-law, who is celebrating her birthday today in Sweden.

Based on the above menu, there are so many possibilities I could focus on for Weekend Herb Blogging, but I have decided to go with an appetiser: the Sumac Scallop w Pomegranate Molasses & Herbs.

I’ll post the other recipes later, for those interested.

Sumac Scallop w Pomegranate Molasses & Herbs
Anna’s very own recipe. Serves 4 as an amuse bouche.

4 large scallops
1 teaspoon sumac
1 teaspoon fresh coriander, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh parsley, chopped
¼ teaspoon pomegranate molasses
¼ teaspoon lemon juice
Olive oil, for frying


1. Rub sumac all over the scallops.

2. Heat oil in a pan until very hot. Sear scallops for 1 minute on the first side then flip and fry 30 seconds on the other side.

3. Combine the coriander and parsley.

4. Place scallops into small serving dishes and spread herbs on top.

5. Place one drop each of the lemon juice and pomegranate molasses on the top and serve.

I’ve covered coriander, sumac and pomegranates all before so there’s only parsley left. I can’t believe I haven’t written a proper post on parsley yet, it’s my most used herb!

Around the end of high school I didn’t like parsley very much. I remember when my friend, Emily, broke a sprig from a bush and started eating it, I reacted with gagging. We both remember that moment to this very day. Weird memory.

Nonetheless, now I always have it in the fridge and use it in many (if not most) of my dishes. But only flat leaf (or continental parsley). I don’t like the texture of the curly one, it reminds me of the garnish from a butcher's display.

Apparently parsley originated in Iran and its English name is a homage to its heritage Pars/Persia.

The two types of parsley are the milder curly version (Petroselinum crispum) and my favourite, the flat-leaf type (Petroselinum neapolitanum).

Apparently chemical analysis shows the flat leaf version is stronger in flavour because it contains higher levels of essential oils.

In China parsley tea was used to alleviate high blood pressure and Native Americans believed it strengthened the bladder.

Parsley supplements are dangerous to pregnant women by stimulating uterine contractions and early labour, but on the plus side crushed parlsey rubbed onto mosquito bites can reduce itchiness.

Parsley plants are like the bodyguards of the garden, attracting wasps and other predatory insects who feed on the pests.

There's not much more I can add to this post, except to provide a rough explanation of the two potentially exotic ingredients in the recipe:
Sumac - tart, sour powder created from grinding the dried berries of the Rhus coriaria.
Pomegranate Molasses – thick, tart syrup made from reducing pomegranate juice.

There's a whole lot of tart in this recipe.

Our hostess is the WHB founder – Herb Goddess Kalyn of Kalyn’s Kitchen – so be sure to visit her round-up and check out all the great (and healthy) recipes on her blog.




  1. I so want that scallop, wonderful flavour combo. Think I'll have more than one though!

  2. Wow, what a fantastic dinner. I wish I had a friend who would cook such a feast for me. (Very funny, around here I would be the one doing the cooking if the friends got together.) I like everything about the scallops ingredients! Also, didn't know that parsley would attract beneficial insects, and I have both kinds in my garden.

  3. What a wonderful line-up of exciting dishes! How long did it take you to prepare all that? Your friends must have felt very special being spoilt like that!

  4. I'm glad I still have sumac in the pantry.. Such great ideas for using it...


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