When I was a little girl growing up in the mountains, autumn fruit consisted solely of apples, oranges and pears. When pomegranates were in season and available – usually once a year or so – my adventurous mom always came home from the market with one or two. I honestly think that, in some small way, eating pomegranates helped awaken my palette. Methodically quartering the fruit and savoring the ruby-like seeds one by one seemed so much more exotic to me than mindlessly munching on yet another Macintosh. It also helped me realize there was an entire world out there, waiting to be discovered.
Pomegranates are a sign of good luck and abundance, so it makes perfect sense to bump up the hedonism quotient by pairing these little gems with best-quality, slightly bitter dark chocolate. This parallels their tartness, and also teases out the seeds' sweet and delicate essence.
First and foremost, wear an apron or old clothes, because both pomegranates and chocolate stain! Cut a pomegranate into quarters. Submerge it in a large, stainless-steel bowl and coax the seeds away from the skin. The good seeds will sink to the bottom. The bad seeds will float to the top.
Skim away any refuse that you can, then drain the seeds well.
Drain the seeds on some paper towels for a few hours, changing towels halfway. Gently blot the little rubies with another paper towel before dipping to make sure they are completely dry.
Melt about 1 cup of best-quality dark chocolate buttons at 50% power. [I used Valrhona 72% Dark Chocolate. Please use the best chocolate you can find. It makes a huge difference.] Nuke at 2-minutes intervals until smooth. You can also melt the chocolate on the stove over double boiler.
Stir well with a fork or whisk to ensure that the mixture is completely smooth and creamy. It should glisten and have a slightly runny texture.
This is the fun part. Toss about 5-8 seeds into the melted chocolate. Using a fork, gently bathe them in chocolate. Let as much excess chocolate as possible fall between the fork tines, then drop the coated seeds, one or two at a time, onto some parchment or wax paper to cool. Depending on how fast you work, you may need to gently re-heat the chocolate in the microwave for 30 or so seconds.
The cooling, chocolate-covered pomegranate seeds: my homage to Jackson Pollack. Make sure they cool overnight or at least for 5 or 6 hours.
Serve these little treats in a pretty contrasting bowl. Enjoy them within a few days.