Persimmons are easy to grow and, for me, herald Thanksgiving. The more common Hachiya persimmon is larger and has a tapered globe-like shape. This variety of persimmon is very astringent unless fully ripe, so choose only those that are soft. Hachiyas are best used pureed for baking persimmon breads, cookies, and steamed puddings, or simply eating with a spoon.
Fuyu persimmons are smaller and look like a squat orange tomato. They are sweet and ripe when hard and crunchy, and are a lovely foil for spicy greens and nuts in salads. Their bright orange color and starburst centers make them a dramatic addition to the holiday table. Chocolate persimmons, a more unusual variety, are starting to appear now, mostly in specialty grocery stores and farmers’ markets. They have a tangy flavor and lovely dark flesh. By all means, try some if you find them. An off-dry Gewürztraminer goes well with the sweetness of the persimmons in this salad.
- Yield: 6 Servings
- ½ cup (55 g) coarsely chopped raw almonds
- 2 Fuyu persimmons
- ¼ cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
- 3 cups (85 g) arugula/rocket
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C/gas 4. Spread the almonds on a rimmed baking sheet/tray and toast until fragrant, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
- Cut the top off the persimmons and peel the skin. Thinly slice the persimmons crosswise, so the starburst shows.
- In a small bowl, whisk the oil with the vinegars, salt, and pepper. In a large salad bowl, toss the arugula/rocket and almonds with the vinaigrette to coat. Divide among salad plates and top each salad with slices of persimmon.