Persimmon is a new fruit to me. They have a short and highly celebrated season in the very late fall and there are two kinds that are available in NYC right now. Fuyu Persimmons are squat and pale orange and are eaten when they are still firm and can be sliced like an apple. Hachiya Persimmons are pointed and a brighter orange and are eaten when they are soft like pudding. I have only tried Fuyu Persimmons.
I served this salad to my friend Rima, who had never had persimmons before either. She said that she had always assumed that Persimmons were sour because the name makes you purse your lips like you had just tasted something sour. I had never examined it before, but when she mentioned it I realized that I had also imagined that Persimmons were a sour fruit! Persimmons are in fact very, very sweet. They taste a like vanilla and cinnamon and sugar but they are crisp like an apple! They are bizarre and wonderful.
At first I thought that I would use the Persimmon the same way that I would use an apple in a salad. I frequently use cheese in salads with apples, but I did not think that would work with the sweet flavour, so I left the cheese out. I made the dressing a little more tart than usual to balance the sweetness and added some spices to bring out the naturally spiced flavour of the fruit. I was very pleased with the way the earthiness of the green beans and toasted almonds complimented the Persimmon. I served this salad with Chicken Baked with Prunes, Capers and Green Olives and it was a nice menu!
SPINACH SALAD WITH FUYU PERSIMMONS, GREEN BEANS AND TOASTED ALMONDS
- Washed baby spinach
- A large handful of thin green beans or haricot vert, steamed until bright green and tender
- A small handful of sliced almonds toasted over medium heat on a dry skillet until golden
- 1 Fuyu Persimmon, stem removed and sliced thin (you do not need to core it)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Balsamic vinegar
- A tiny amount of maple syrup or agave nectar
- I used a lovely spice mixture that my friend Makale gave me that included rose petals, cumin and cardamom. I think that a tiny amount of ground cardamom with a some toasted and crushed cumin seeds would do the trick too. Or you could use home-made garam masala (I recommend the second and simpler recipe from Madhur Jaffrey for garam masala which includes cardamom).
- salt and pepper