When it comes to extracting the jewel-like arils, or seed casings, of the pomegranate, there are two schools of thought: submerge the segments in a bowl of water, invert the rind, and coax them out; or halve the fruit, flip it over, and bang the stuffing out of it with a wooden spoon. Jeremy Blutstein and Michael Reardon, co-chefs of Café Marlton, belong firmly to the latter camp. Pomegranate makes a festive, sweet-tart addition to the seasonal salad of fennel, radicchio, and feta they serve in the new hotel’s lobby bar.
The Marlton Lobby Bar’s Fennel-and-Pomegranate Salad
2 tsp. sumac
Juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to garnish
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 fennel bulbs
1 head Treviso (or any other) radicchio, bigger leaves torn into smaller pieces
4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
2 1/2 ounces barrel-aged feta
To make the dressing, whisk together sumac, lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper; set aside. (1) Score the rind of the pomegranate around its equator, and (2) twist and pull halves apart to avoid bruising the seeds; alternatively, slice in half. (3) Remove seeds from one of the halves by holding the inside of the fruit in one hand over a large bowl, or face down on a cutting board, and giving the exterior rind a few solid whacks with the back of a wooden spoon (reserve second half for another use). Remove the stalks, outer leaves, and core of the fennel bulbs. Using a mandoline, slice bulbs as thinly as possible. Place in a large bowl with pomegranate seeds, radicchio, parsley, and dressing; toss to combine. Season to taste, and arrange salad on a large platter. Using a vegetable peeler or mandoline, shave the feta over the salad and garnish with a bit more olive oil. Serves 4.
*This article originally appeared in the December 2, 2013 issue of New York Magazine.