Persimmon was more a color to me and not a food I prepared or paid attention until I received two persimmons from the farm. I am the first to admit that my family lives in a fresh food rut. Carrots, green beans, broccoli, strawberries, bananas and the like keep working their way into our meals. I enlisted the help of the csa for all the good reasons (local, organic, surprises) but also because I knew that I wouldn’t select foods that were out of my safety circle and needed a higher power to do it for me.
My 91-yearold nutritionist a few years back insisted that variety in produce is the key to being healthy; the Japanese strive for 31 different foods each day. Every fruit and vegetable offers a unique set of nutrients that our bodies need and use. And if nutrition isn’t your hook, complexion might be. The more variety and color in your produce, the brighter color in your cheeks.
Back to persimmons of which there are two kinds. “Fuyu are round and flat and are eaten while still crisp, they make colorful and tasty salads. Hachiya are elongated with a pointy tip, and are tannic until ripe and very soft,” as guided by Alice Waters. I had Fuyu.
Skip this paragraph if you and persimmons have been longtime friends. You don’t want to witness my unfortunate ignorance. These words for my persimmon virgins. We have missed out on this fruit for &%#-ty odd years. Popular in China and the national fruit in Japan, yet we haven’t let the persimmon into our lives. Somewhere between a melon and a tomato the persimmon is kinda sweet, kinda not sweet, and a whole lotta succulent. It is sturdy to hold up in a salad and delicate enough to absorb seasonings.
If Alice Waters knows the difference between two types of persimmons then she would surely know how best to serve them and from my favorite book of hers, this recipe emerged. Pomegranates, also in season, added tang and structure to the sliced persimmon. The walnuts provided depth and the vinaigrette pulled it together offering a full-body bite. Note: the husband loved this fruit salad and the kids, who are not quite ready for primetime, thought it was okay…but they shun the new. Next time.
If you’ve been a persimmonista all along, enlighten the rest of us with ideas. If you’re a novice like me, let me know if you took the brave step and what you thought of this fruit.
persimmon & pomegranate salad
preptime: 10 minutes
3 ripe fuyu persimmons
3 T chopped toasted walnuts
1 T red wine vinegar
freshly ground pepper
Peel and thinly slice persimmons. Cut pomegranate in half and scoop out seeds. Discard any pith.
Toast walnuts in 325° for 10 minutes. Chop either with a knife or, my trick, put walnuts in ziploc bag and crush using the bottom of a drinking glass or wooden spoon or of course a rolling pin, but that’s not very McGuyver of you.
Combine vinegar, salt and pepper. Toss with persimmons. To plate, place persimmons first and then top with pomegranate seeds and walnuts.
Cook’s Options: Use prepackaged pomegranate seeds. White wine or champagne vinegar can be substituted.
recipe adapted from The Art of Simple Food and provided by your friends at crunchtimefood.com.