"Pomegranate molasses tastes nothing like either pomegranate or molasses, but has a puckery, caramel, almost SweeTarts candy flavor that perks up just about anything you drizzle it on. I bought a bottle several years ago to make a North African meal, and have since gone through phases of sprinkling it obsessively on anything that stands still long enough, then letting it languish for months, only to gleefully rediscover the sticky bottle wedged behind the pumpkin seed oil.
For a while, I used it to dress my nightly salads, tossing in a few drops along with olive oil and salt (no vinegar needed). But after a few months, my husband rebelled ("Did you have a falling out with vinegar?"), so I moved on to roasted vegetables, stirring the molasses in at the end of the roasting time to prevent baked-on, black scorches (one nasty cleanup was plenty).
Of all the vegetables that have met its tart tang, sweet roasted carrots, seasoned with a little chile for spice, make the best partner. Don't try to substitute regular molasses here, the flavor is too strong. If you don't have pomegranate molasses (available in Middle Eastern and gourmet food shops), use 2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar instead, adding it halfway through the cooking time. Mint and parsley make fine stand-ins for cilantro."
-from "In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite" by Melissa Clark —Melissa Clark
carrots, peeled, trimmed, and halved or quartered lengthwise (halve the thin carrots, quarter the fat ones)
extra-virgin olive oil
Turkish or Syrian red pepper (such as Aleppo pepper) or cayenne
pomegranate molasses or 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
chopped fresh cilantro, basil, or parsley
Preheat the oven to 425°F. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the carrots with the oil, salt, and red pepper or cayenne. Spread them out in a single layer.
Roast for 15 minutes, stir well, and roast for 10 more minutes. Then remove from the oven and drizzle with the pomegranate molasses; toss gently to coat the carrots with molasses. Roast until the carrots are golden and soft, about 5 more minutes. Serve garnished with cilantro.
Melissa Clark writes about cuisine and other products of appetite. After brief forays working as a cook in a restaurant kitchen, and as a caterer out of her fifth floor walk-up, Clark decided upon a more sedentary path. She earned an M.F.A. in writing from Columbia University, and began a freelance food writing career. Currently, she is a food columnist for the New York Times, and has written for Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Every Day with Rachel Ray, and Martha Stewart, amongst others. All told, Clark has written over 30 cookbooks.
Clark was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, where she now lives with her husband, Daniel Gercke, their preschool daughter Dahlia, and their formerly cosseted cat.