It seems like forever since I walked my butt down the hill to the Hollywood Farmers Market for a Market Matters post. But persimmons are calling and they can’t keep up the racket much longer. That’s just how they are. Bold and assertive– then GONE! Well, before they are gone gone I suggest you pick some up and make this Fuyu Persimmon Salad with Arugula & Pomegranate. It could well be the prettiest belle of the seasonal salad ball, sure to turn heads because it’s a lovely study in contrast.
The peppery arugula contrasts with sweet persimmon and tart pomegranate– both on the palate and on the plate. Because the vibrant colors are a big part of this beauty’s success. I have also used contrasting vinegar styles in the dressing. Rich, sweet balsamic plays against the super bright acidic notes of coconut vinegar.
But the star of this salad is persimmon. Lots of folks are not overly familiar with persimmons. But in Southern California the Fuyus herald in the Holiday season. They stay bright orange, starkly clinging to the tree’s branches long after the leaves have fallen, creating a decorative sculptural element in every garden lucky enough to boast of one. I don’t think I could ever really be ready for Thanksgiving until the persimmons put on their seasonal show around here.
Another strange thing about persimmons is this– way too many people pretend that they don’t like persimmons. I can’t understand why they put on such a farce. It’s impossible to truly dislike persimmons. I suppose their ruse could be rooted in a bad persimmon experience. One that happens far too often amongst the uninitiated. Because, besides Fuyu, which are sweet and crisp, there’s another type of persimmon which has an astringent habit of tempting folks in before it’s really ripe.
I am talking about Hachiya persimmons, which are larger than the more common Fuyu. They have a tapered, acorn-like shape. They turn a lovely shade of deep reddish-orange too. But they are not ready to eat, just because their hue seems so delicious. Hachiya must be butter-soft before you even think about serving them. In fact, they are at their best when they barely even hold their shape and are often splotched with brown. Much like pudding they are often sliced and eaten with a spoon. But they are very good in baking too, adding an exotic sweetness and lots of moisture to cakes, cookies, and bread.
Fuyu Persimmon Salad
For this persimmon salad, I choose Fuyu for its crisp nature. I like some crunch in a salad. They are squatter and look a bit like an orange tomato, or a tiny pumpkin. They are sweet and crunchy. They are at their best when the color peaks but they remain quite firm. They have an extra bonus too. When sliced horizontally they reveal their inner star, making them a pretty Holiday adornment to this salad.
- 2 fuyu persimmons
- 0.25 c extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 T aged balsamic vinegar
- 1 T coconut vinegar (you may substitute any white vinegar)
- 0.5 t sea salt
- 1 pinch freshly cracked black pepper
- 3 c arugula
- 0.5 c pomegranate seeds
To make the persimmon salad: Cut the top off the persimmons, then using a vegetable peeler, peel the skin off too. This is optional as the skin is edible. Use a mandoline to carefully slice crosswise paper-thin slices, exposing the starburst in the center of each slice.
In a small bowl whisk together the oil with the vinegar, salt, and pepper.
In a large salad bowl toss the arugula and the pomegranate seeds with the vinaigrette to coat. Divide the persimmon salad among six plates and top each with slices of persimmon.
SERIOUS FUN FOOD
Fuyu Persimmon Salad