I look forward to the arrival of persimmons in the late fall when they are at peak of the season. This highly prized fruit has a unique sweetness that adds a wonderful flavor to salads, fresh salsas, or baked goods, such as puddings or breads.
Persimmons are beautiful trees with dark green leaves, enlivened by bright pumpkin-colored fruit on twisty branches. Even as the tree loses its leaves in the early winter, the fruit will ripen and dangle on a stem like a piece of jewelry, attracting flocks of shiny black crows that gather together for a holiday feast. It is picturesque, yet, somewhat odd and eerie, like something from an Edgar Allen Poe story.
When it comes to flavor and texture, the two most common varieties of persimmons, Fuyu and Hachiya, are polar opposites. Fuyu persimmons have a tomato-like shape and are firm like an apple, where as the deep reddish-orange Hachiya turns a translucent soft consistency when ripe.
A brightly colored salad of Fuyu persimmons, pomegranates, and mixed greens, with shaved Manchego cheese, accented by toasted pepitas, in olive oil vinaigrette— is one that I could eat everyday. It is a great beginning to any meal and will surely dazzle your guests at the holiday table.
Mixed Greens with Persimmon, Pomegranate and Manchego Cheese
4 to 5 handfuls of mixed greens such as frisee, radicchio, arugula, mizuna, escarole
2 large Fuyu persimmons, thinly sliced
2 ounces Manchego cheese, shaved
¼ cup toasted pepitas
¼ cup pomegranate seeds
Fresh ground pepper to taste
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon grainy mustard
3 tablespoons olive oil
In a large salad bowl, combine mixed greens, persimmons, Manchego cheese, toasted pepitas, and pomegranate seeds. Drizzle vinaigrette over the salad and toss until lightly coated. Add fresh ground pepper to taste. Serves 4.
In a small bowl add vinegar and salt until salt dissolves, then whisk in mustard. Slowly whisk in olive oil until emulsified.