I chose to arrange this Beet and Persimmon Salad with Blue Cheese and Crunchy Seeds into a wreath-like presenation for a festive holiday party but any arrangement you’d like is fine.
- 2 tablespoon raw pepitas (green pumpkin seeds)
- 2 tablespoon sunflower seeds
- 2 tablespoon assorted other flavorful seeds (such as anise, nigela, coriander, sesame, poppy, and/or flax)
- 2 teaspoon honey
- ¼ cup plus 1 teaspoon, extra virgin olive oil (divided, plus more for drizzling)
- kosher salt (as needed)
- 2 pound baby beets (use various colors if you like)
- 3 clove garlic (peeled and halved)
- 2 (½-inch wide) strips orange peel
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 fresh bay leaf
- 2 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
- 1 cup water
- 2 firm Fuyu persimmons (trimmed, peeled, sliced crosswise into rounds)
- 6-9 ounce crumbled blue cheese (or to taste)
- 20-30 flat parsley leaves
- 4-6 lemon wedges (or to taste)
Prepare the crunchy seeds: Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
In a small bowl toss all the seeds with honey, 1 teaspoon olive oil, and a big pinch of salt. Spread in a single layer onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake in the heated oven until toasted; 8 to 10 minutes. Watch carefully as they burn easily. Set aside to cool then break into small but variously sized clumps.
Roast the beets: Raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees F.
Remove the greens and scrub the beets well. Arrange the beets on a roasting pan large enough to hold them in a single layer and add the garlic cloves, orange peels, thyme, bay leaf, black peppercorns, and water. Drizzle the mixture with remaining ¼ cup olive oil and season generously with salt. Cover tightly with foil and bake up to 1 hour, or until the beets are tender (start checking at 40 minutes); transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet and let cool somewhat; discard the liquid and aromatics. If you are using multiple colors of beets roast each color separately as the cooking times vary and red beets will discolor the other beets.
When cool enough to handle (but still warm) peel and trim the beets and slice them into bite-sized wedges. Separate the beets by color to avoid discoloration.
Cut the persimmon rounds in half to create half moons, set aside.
To serve: Divide the beets and persimmons between 4 to 6 individual plates. Arrange them artfully. I chose a ring pattern for a holiday presentation, but any arrangement is fine. Sprinkle each one with blue cheese and crunchy seeds to taste then arrange parsley leaves on top. Drizzle with olive oil and serve with lemon wedges for spritzing.