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A man well ahead of his time

what to do with watermelon and pomegranates

Still life with a watermelon and pomegranates is the title of this painting by Paul Cézanne. It was painted some time between 1900 and 1906 - or maybe it took him that long to paint. To be honest I'm not sure how much I like it and at first glance I though the pomegranates were onions. - and the watermelon is the wrong colour. Well for me. But as I was pondering a bit on what to write about I thought it was a good starting point. And yes it's from my desk calendar.

Watermelon I understand for the time. Watermelon are common all around the Mediterranean, but pomegranates? But then again I remember pomegranates from my childhood although not the context as it were. So maybe they went out of fashion. There is no denying that they are in fashion now though. And a pairing with watermelon is comparatively common - although not in a terribly varied way I have to say.

Salad is king here. Well of course it is. So here are a few to set you on your way because I'm sure you can think of other options. First is the salad that seems to be the favourite in that appears in different places more than others - it's from Matt Moran and he calls it Watermelon and pomegranate salad with whipped feta. The feta is whipped with lemon and garlic and sits on the base of the plate in that very trendy way. Looks good though. Then we have Chargrilled watermelon fattoush from Taste. In this case the pomegranate is in the form of pomegranate molasses in the dressing. Interesting idea to chargrill the watermelon though. Next we go to England and The Guardian for Ravinder Bhogal's Rose-scented watermelon with maftoul, pomegranate molasses and pistachios - maftoul by the way is large couscous. Still with The Guardian, Ottolenghi, of course, has to have a go with his Watermelon with pomegranate, pumpkin seeds and mint sugar which he rather curiously says could be served as dessert. Last of all, and perhaps the most interesting is a recipe from Melbourne's own Joseph Abboud - Watermelon with rosewater, labne, mint and pomegranate molasses. Fundamentally though they all play around with the two main ingredients, some cheese of some kind and then it's a choice of nuts and seeds or herbs with the occasional bit of green stuff.

Refreshing and variable by chopping smaller into a salsa which you can of course just eat with chips, but which could also be served over halloumi, or as a side with anything barbecued or grilled I would think. This one is from a blog called Love and Zest.

A salsa must be a good thing because TikTok is into it too.

Then there were smoothies and juices - indeed you can buy commercial varieties of the juice because according to a website called Nutra Ingredients USA a recent study in Spain found that:

"a combination of watermelon and pomegranate juice enriched with citrulline and ellagitannins produced beneficial effects regarding metabolism and performance" Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Aimed at athletic performance though - not for ordinary people like me.

I only found a few other things: A granita - well I guess that was obvious - from the New Zealand Women's Weekly; a more interesting dish from Matt Moran again although the two ingredients are separated somewhat - Pomegranate roast chicken with watermelon salad;

I have to say it's a very summery combination - if only summer was here. Also slightly odd for the Met to choose it as an October painting.

Because it is such an obvious kind of pairing really I was a little bit surprised to find more and also more imaginative uses of this particular pairing, especially not much from Ottolenghi and crew. Or Curtis Stone, Bill Granger, Donna Hay. You might have thought that they would have done something super with them.

It's sort of simultaneously laid back and classy isn't it? I wonder if Cezanne actually ate the two together or whether he just painted them?

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