Tag Archives: salt

Salt and Pomegranates

I started a dinner series in May called Salt & Pomegranates. I’ve long wanted to explore Persian cuisine and cuisine from the Republic of Georgia. Since I live alone (and, honestly, don’t like cooking for one), I decided to start a supper club, which would give me the opportunity to explore new recipes and to entertain about a dozen people at a time. Two of my favorite activities on earth!


Photo: Melissa Danielle

Why the name? The saltshaker, as you know, is the logo for my personal cheffing business. I decided a while back that any endeavor I undertake would have to have salt somewhere in the title. (For example, I used to hold an art and culinary salon that was called Salt Salon.) And pomegranates are a prominent ingredient in Persian and Georgian cooking. You’d be hard pressed to find a Persian cookbook that didn’t have a pomegranate on the cover. Also, I have fond memories of sitting on the floor of my cousin’s living room, newspaper spread on the coffee table, tearing into pomegranates as a kid. I even have two pomegranates tattooed on my back. Salt & Pomegranates also evokes the savory preparations of pomegranates that is pervasive in dishes from Iran, Georgia, and many countries in between. (Plus, I just think the title sounds kind of poetic.)

Feasts take place in Brooklyn, and I hope to bring them to cities around the US where I have friends posted. Please check out the website — SaltandPomegranates.com — and sign up to receive updates on the Contact Page.

I’ll leave you with a recipe that incorporates salt and pomegranates — Basturma of Lamb, a Georgian kebab recipe from one of the inspirational cookbooks I’ve been working out of.


Photo: Melissa Danielle

Basturma of Lamb
from Darra Goldstein’s The Georgian Feast

Serves 4-6

2 pounds boneless shoulder or leg of lamb, cut into 2-inch cubes
skewers for grilling

2 cups pomegranate juice (see Note, below)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 bay leaf, crushed
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

  1. Thread the cubed meat onto skewers and place the kebabs in a deep baking pan or pot just wide enough to accommodate the skewers.
  2. Mix together all the ingredients for the marinade and pour over the skewered meat. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. Allow to marinate overnight, and up to 48 hours.
  3. About an hour before cooking, take the meat out of the refrigerator. Remove the skewers from the marinade and dab with paper towels to remove excess moisture. Allow the meat to come to room temperature. In the meantime, prepare the coals for your grill (if you have a charcoal grill). Grill the kebabs for about ten minutes, flipping them to cook evenly on all sides.

Note: I used bottled, not-from-concentrate pomegranate juice. During the winter, when pomegranates are in season, I would suggest using freshly-squeezed juice.

Ode to Salt

by Pablo Neruda

This salt
in the salt cellar
I once saw in the salt mines.
I know
you won’t
believe me
it sings
salt sings, the skin
of the salt mines
with a mouth smothered
by the earth.
I shivered in those
when I heard
the voice
the salt
in the desert.
Near Antofagasta
the nitrous
a mournful

In its caves
the salt moans, mountain
of buried light,
translucent cathedral,
crystal of the sea, oblivion
of the waves.
And then on every table
in the world,
we see your piquant
vital light
our food.
of the ancient
holds of ships,
the high seas,
of the unknown, shifting
byways of the foam.
Dust of the sea, in you
the tongue receives a kiss
from ocean night:
taste imparts to every seasoned
dish your ocean essence;
the smallest,
wave from the saltcellar
reveals to us
more than domestic whiteness;
in it, we taste infinitude.