Friday, November 12, 2010

I Heart Persimmons



Up until a couple days ago, I had never eaten a persimmon. Persimmon cookies, yes.  A real live raw persimmon, no.  I used to live next door to an enormous persimmon tree that produced so much fruit the neighbors gave boxes and boxes away every year.  For some reason, I always declined their offers.  I had it in my head that I wouldn't like them.  I wish I could get one of those boxes now.

At the farmer's market last week, I bought one lone persimmon on a whim.  I'm trying to use ingredients that I'm unfamiliar with and persimmons fit the bill.  The persimmon guy picked one out for me, gave me a little spiel about how to know when they were ripe, and then into my fruit bowl it went.  And it sat there for over a week.  I kept looking at it guiltily, wondering what it tasted like, and how I was going to use it. It was getting riper by the day and eventually was relegated to the fridge.  The good news is that according to everything I read about persimmons, ripe is the only way to go.  And by the time I made this salad, it was very ripe. 

I wanted to make a dish that really showcased the persimmon, and didn’t hide its flavor.  After slicing it up and tasting it, a simple salad became the obvious choice.  Not knowing where to start with complementary flavors to a persimmon, I consulted The Flavor Bible, one of my favorite resources.  (It’s an amazing book with an index of ingredients that lists complementary flavors for each.)  Based on what I saw in the book, I decided that candied nuts and a creamy cheese were in order. 

Not only is this Fall salad really yummy, it’s also beautiful.


Persimmon Salad with Candied Walnuts and Creamy Sherry Vinaigrette

1 persimmon, sliced
arugula
romaine lettuce, chopped
goat cheese, crumbled
candied walnuts (recipe follows)
sherry vinaigrette (recipe follows)

Toss lettuce mixture with vinaigrette.  Top with persimmons, goat cheese and walnuts.

Candied Walnuts:
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 tablespoon sugar

Mix all spices together.  Toss walnuts in a little vegetable oil, then toss with spices.  Roast in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes.  Watch carefully.  Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Vinaigrette:
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper

Whisk all ingredients together.  Set aside until ready to use.  (If you refrigerate this, it will firm up because of the cream.  Take it out ahead of time to allow it to loosen up if making ahead.)


There’s a lot going on here: sweet persimmons, tangy vinaigrette, spicy walnuts, peppery arugula, and creamy goat cheese. (I also added diced chicken breast to this to make it more of a meal, but I wouldn’t even bother next time.)  When I got a bite of everything at once, it was a party in my mouth.  This combination produces an amazing flavor.  The persimmon was definitely the star of the show, and we both wished we’d had more slices. 

As I was eating and getting full, I started offloading some of my salad into Andy’s bowl.  He noted that I was not giving up any of the persimmon.  Next trip to the farmer’s market, at least two persimmons are on the list…one for each of us.


60 comments:

  1. What lovely colors and flavors! this looks so fresh and delicious!

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  2. I stole some of your persimmons when you weren't looking...
    -Andy

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  3. That sounds like a wonderful combination & so beautiful too!

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  4. Persimmons are so pretty, and yummy with this salad you made. Love the colors, and flavor combination!

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  5. I love, love, love persimmons and I've actually never had them in any form except as a plain fruit. I think they sound lovely in your salad!

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  6. Looks like a beautiful recipe. And I'll keep the Flavor Bible in mind -- it sounds terrific!

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  7. I have never tried them either, except in the cookies your Mom used to make. If you want more, I think Auntie has a persimmon tree in her backyard. You could probably sneak back there without her knowing! She and Nanny were always pushing them off on me to take into work.

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  8. I love that you changed your mind about them. I too think that they are wonderful and only tried them recently after moving into a house that happened to have a big tree in the front yard. I will have to make this salad - thanks for sharing!

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  9. Persimons are they what are known in the U.K as Sharon Fruit. I did not like my first taste of them, but your recipe is very appealing and if its changed your mind about them, who knows it could happen for me.

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  10. The one time I ate a persimmon, it wasn't ripe and tasted awful :-( I'll have to get a good one and try again!

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  11. That's great! You sound so much like me. I tasted my first on last week. I too loke to try and use things new to me when I see them. I picked up one persimmon ans used it in my bento box and tried it for the first time. I enjoyed it too, and was surprised by the mellow flavor, it was quite nice.

    Your salad is lovely and I would love to have some right now!

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  12. I love persimmons. My grandparents had a tree, and yes, ripe is the only way to go. Such a lovely salad!

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  13. Wow I wish I would have read your post before I tried one for the first time. I wasn't sure when it was ripe and if you could eat the skin. I also had no idea what to expect. After reading this I realized the persimmon I ate was no where close to ripe and it had a terrible flavor. I have one more that has just been sitting around my kitchen, I think you have inspired me to try one again!

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  14. Karen, I have never tried one either, but this salad looks fantastic, and I'm game!!!

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  15. This is new fruit for me. After seeing your beautiful pics.. I want to try this salad...

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  17. I have never had a persimmon either, but your salad is beautiful. Persimmon's aren't local in the Midwest, so I'll have to check out the grocery store.

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  18. I've also never had a persimmon before. I hear they are delicious though! I need to try one! I've been seeing them a lot lately in the regular grocery stores when I used to never see them at all. The salad looks yummy--pretty too!

    That book sounds really helpful--a good resource to have in the culinary library. I'll have to keep my eyes out for it.

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  19. What a beautiful and tasty salad. I love persimmons and so glad you tried one straight up. They really sweet. They can be eaten a when they are a bit hard but also when they become sort of mushy too. Thanks for sharing.

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  20. With the candied walnuts I am in heaven

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  21. Beautiful salad! I have never made anything with persimmons, but this salad convinces me that I should try!

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  22. I love persimmons too but have never thought to put them in a salad. Great idea!!

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  23. Your salad looks delicious. I love persimmons but have never used them in a recipe. Thanks for the yummy inspiration.

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  24. Great recipe ! I keep it in the pocket of my apron and will try it soon. I have just added a new post about Japanese persimmons.

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  25. Dear Karen
    How are you? I am off blog these days so you dont see me ...
    Persimmons brings a funny incident in my life. I did not know about this fruit, not available in India. So while in Kuwait, I bought few, thinking , it was tomato, and cooked a delicious Mutton dish with Indian recipe...Oh! God Just could not eat it...was wondering what went wrong with my 30 years cooking experience...Next day my friend's wife next door , told me what was wrong..ha ha
    Next time I am in Korea or Kuwait , I will certainly try your recipe. It sounds so delicious
    have a nice weekend

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  26. I have only heard of persimmons but have never tried them. The salad seems like a great introduction to them.

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  27. What a festive looking salad. Perfect for this time of year. I just love persimmons too!

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  28. My father-in-law has a persimmon tree in his cottage's garden so we get to eat this fruit quite often. Did you know that according to Greek mythology Ulysses' men when they were returning back home after the Troyan war ate this fruit that made them forget completely their country and families?

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  29. I've never eaten the persimmons .. I will certainly try them and this recipe, thanks a lot for the comment you left me!

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  30. I think I've had persimmon once, and I can't even remember how. I love your idea of this salad.

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  31. I've never had a persimmon! This salad looks gorgeous though, I'll have to keep an eye out for them, thanks!

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  32. I fell in love with persimmons last year and can't get them out of my head! They are so tasty. I love what you've done with them in this salad! So delicious and so pretty to look at too!

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  33. I just tried a fuyu persimmon for the first time a few weeks ago and it was also love at first taste for me. I've been having them non stop in salads. I love the cheese in this one. It'll be on the menu this week! Thanks!

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  34. Well?? What did the persimmon taste like? I too, have never tasted a persimmon! The salad looks great- especially the arugula- a favorite in our household! I'm going to have to purchase a persimmon the next time I see one!

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  35. I love, love persimmons. They are really sweet and soft when they are fully ripe. I love them sweet and crunchy, when they are just ripen. I have always enjoy eaten them as they are, have never tried them in salads, sounds great!

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  36. Congratulations on the Top 9 today!

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  37. I was eyeing a persimmon just this week. I didn't buy it because I didn't know what to do with it. Now I do! You really can't go wrong with a simple salad and a creamy cheese.

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  38. Bravo on finding a new fruit! I love what you did with it too. The salad is so vibrant and beautiful.

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  39. Oh yeah, persimmon season is arriving! I will be able to enjoy more imported persimmons soon. I have yet tried them with salad. Must be tasty good. Thanks and hope you're having a great day.
    Kristy

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  40. I have never tried persimmon - your blog has peaked my interest. Thank you.

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  41. How delicious looking! We have persimmons growing nearby. I can't wait to go pick some and try them!

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  42. Just to tell you yesterday we have had this lovely dish for dinner.
    My husband was happy and me too:)
    Thanks!

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  43. what a great blog!
    here is so many inspirations,

    have a nice time,
    Paula

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  44. I've had a persimmon a while ago, maybe time to get another one, your salad looks fantastic!

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  45. Well I've never seen or heard of a persimmon. They look delicious! How interesting.

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  46. Beautiful dish. I've never had a persimmon before but it looks so tasty. I'm going to have to keep my eye out for them so I can give them a whirl. ;)

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  47. New fruit to me ..... salad looks fantastic!

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  48. I've never thought of persimmons in salad before - what a terrific idea!

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  49. What a lovely Salad, so flavourful and delicious.

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  50. I've always eaten persimmons by themselves, but your salad looks delicious. My grandpa had a tree that grew persimmons like that one- they were so good when they were ripe and mellow. On our farm in the woods we had persimmon trees (wild?)that were full of a tiny orange fruit that you couldn't eat until after a hard frost on them. They could turn your mouth inside out!

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  51. love the colour of the salad. They look very healthy and refreshing :D

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  52. I HEART Persimmons too! They have such a unique flavor. Gorgeous salad!

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  53. I've never had persimmon. What does it taste like?
    ~ingrid

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  54. What a gorgeous recipe Karen. I am so happy you showed me a way to eat persimmons besides in a cookie;)Happy Monday to you:)

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  55. Truly beautiful salad! The vinaigrette sounds amazing!

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  56. this is such a refreshing salad. i love this. thanks for sharing.

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  57. Gorgeous salad...I love persimmons too but have not had them in awhile...

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  58. Beautiful looking salad and healthy too. I just adore persimmons!

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