Fuyu persimmons in the market
For these salads, we use fuyu persimmons, which are small, round, orange, and firm, similar to a tomato in shape. The important first step is to peel the persimmons. There are several schools of thought on how to peel a persimmon, so we Google the subject and pick one that is most appealing. We wash each persimmon and cut it into quarters along the lines on the fruit. With a paring knife, we peel off the stem and the fibrous part leading from the stem, similar to coring an apple. We then peel off the outer skin, continuing the apple analogy, and slice it into wedges.
Our favorite recipe this year is a new one, Persimmon Salad with Pomegranate and Walnuts. I had never candied walnuts before and this recipe is a great way to start. I get to use my mortar and pestle, which is always fun, to crush coarse salt, mix it with sugar, and then coat walnuts that have been soaked briefly in hot water. In our oven, it takes 8 minutes at 350 degrees for them to get crisp and caramelized.
Three persimmons, cut into wedges, are then paired with radicchio, pomegranate seeds (which also just happen to be in season), and a vinaigrette of sliced shallots, salt, and sherry vinegar, steeped for a bit, then mixed with walnut oil. Topped with the sugared walnuts, this salad offers incredible bursts of flavor, contrasting and complementary.
Our other favorite persimmon salad, Fuyu Persimmon Salad, also from the New York Times recipe collection (which is a great resource, we make a lot of recipes that we find in the paper and online), also mixes the persimmons with radicchio, but with a slightly different twist, adding celery and shaved Parmesan cheese.
The vinaigrette for this recipe is similar, diced shallots with salt, lemon juice, and sherry vinegar. After sitting for a few minutes, we add olive oil and some salt and pepper. Three persimmons are then cut into wedges and mixed with radicchio, slices of celery, and the vinaigrette. We shave thin strips of Parmesan over the mixture and serve. Another great combination!
Persimmon salad complements a wide variety of dishes and we take great advantage of that. We have persimmon salad twice in a week, once with bourbon-marinated skirt steak and the next day with chile-rubbed grilled salmon.
We'll miss them when they're gone!