A gloriously colorful combination of fall fruits makes this salad festive enough to hold its own on the Thanksgiving table. Persimmons are my husband’s favorite fruit, and this is our favorite holiday salad. Asian pears, pomegranate seeds, and a walnut oil dressing complement the bitterness of endive perfectly.
Two types of persimmon are commonly found in the U.S. and now is the time to look for them in grocery stores – they’ll be hard to find after Christmas. The Hachiya variety is pointed at one end like an acorn. It is an astringent type, which means you must let it ripen until it is a nearly mushy pudding-like blob (so soft you think it must be rotten, but it’s not!) Otherwise it is terrible to eat. The short, squat type is the Fuyu variety. It gets softer as it gets riper, but you can pretty much eat it any time. This is the best choice for salads, because it can be sliced.
For each person:
3 t. olive oil or walnut oil
1 t. balsamic vinegar
Salt and lemon juice to taste
1 handful walnuts
½ Fuyu persimmon, sliced into thin half-moons
½ Asian or European pear, cored and sliced into thin half-moons
1 handful pomegranate seeds
1 handful frisee (curly endive) or thinly sliced Belgian endive
1 handful salad mix
I’ve written this recipe so it can be scaled up for the number of people you have. The vinaigrette can be made with walnut oil, but if you’re like most people and don’t have walnut oil in the cupboard (besides, it goes rancid rather quickly), you can make your own with olive oil. First, chop and toast the walnuts, 4-5 minutes at 350ºF. Then combine the hot walnuts and the olive oil in a pan on low heat for 5-10 minutes, watching carefully to make sure the walnuts don’t get too dark. Since hot oil doesn’t make for good salad dressing, you’ll need to let it cool to room temperature. Combine the oil with balsamic vinegar and a pinch of salt, and save the walnuts for the salad. If the dressing seems a little too sweet, add a squeeze of lemon juice. The dressing can be made ahead of time, but if you refrigerate it the olive oil may solidify, so just leave it out on the counter for 15 minutes or so before serving. Toss the fruits, toasted walnuts, and greens with the dressing in a large bowl.
Blogger Amy White is totally obsessed with vegetables and fruits. Amy can be found every Friday right here, and on her blog, www.veggieobsession.blogspot.com.