Monday, December 21, 2009

Guest post: Fuyu persimmon salad with a lime vinaigrette

My friend Wendy Murray brought up her love of persimmons this morning when we spoke.  I wouldn't let her get away without writing about her favorite persimmon salad.  I love this. It's true, some people are afraid of persimmons, but they are the most versatile and delicious fruit and this recipe would be a bright counterpoint to some of the heavier Christmas fare:

I had never taken to persimmons. They're cloying and sweet. They are, however, extraordinarily beautiful.  I'd pass them by at the markets, sad that I couldn't buy them to go in that blue ceramic bowl from Crete that makes a collection of limes or satsumas or tomatoes look like modern art.

To sidetrack -- but for a purpose that will become clear -- I went many years ago as an orphan to someone's Thanksgiving dinner. Being polite to people I have never seen since I asked the nice woman who brought this orange salad for the recipe. She gave it to me.

A couple of weeks ago I was given one fuyu persimmon. "Thanks" I said. I didn't say "they're cloying and sweet". I said "Thanks" and put it in on top of the last of the heirloom tomatoes in the blue Cretan bowl. Then I remembered, in the way that you remember the  present you sent to a godchild for which you never received a thank you card, that recipe. Maybe there was a single fuyu persimmon involved.

My persimmon needed some friends, so I went and bought some and made this recipe and because there was no one else to share the pleasure with (my dog had never been a big soft fruit fan) I took a bowl to my neighbours with a fork and insisted that they eat it on the doorstep so they would compliment me and the persimmons for being so clever.

So here it is. I don't know where it comes from. I think it may have originally been in the LA Times. I've fiddled with it a bit.

It works brilliantly as a salad but I am going to try it next with Greek yoghurt as a dessert.  Then I'll probably make a face pack ....just joking.

Fuyu persimmon salad with a lime vinaigrette

2 pounds ( about 6) Fuyu persimmons
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 Serrano chili, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon walnut oil
1/4 of a pomegranate
A large handful of chopped walnuts, toasted
A large handful chopped cilantro

So --
Put the walnuts ( I used chopped baking walnuts from TJ's) on a baking tray in oven for ten minutes - 350 - but keep an eye on them.
Peel the persimmons and cut out the calyx thing.

Cut them into about 12 wedges
In a jar with lid put lime juice (has to be lime) cumin, walnut oil, half that chile, a dash of salt -- start with a dash and build
Let it sit in the jar for about 10 minutes so the chile does its stuff.
Pour over wedges of persimmon. Mix it well. Leave for a few minutes.  Add walnuts. Add the chopped cilantro. Mix again.
Break out the pomegranate seeds on top.
Add more salt or lime juice if needed

So simple. So colourful.  So great.

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