Persistence of Persimmons: Persimmons, Pomegranate, and Asian Pear Salad
It’s not actually the most apt description to call persimmons persistent, at least in the context of my limited personal experience with them. More accurate, perhaps, is to say that I’ve perseverated on them, ever since reading the poem so entitled by Li-Young Lee while a student at Emory U. It haunted me, with it’s fluidity, and in the way it offered connection in spite of the fact that I did not know what persimmons were. Nor did my curiosity motivate me sufficiently to cause the mass of contradictions that was my internally conflicted undergraduate self to find out. Now, finally, settled into my 30s, I know what persimmons are, and I’m glad.
Hailing originally from ancient China, persimmons are now cultivated in hundreds of varieties in California, and are a standout source of vitamin A, as well as a good source of vitamin C and fiber. Available September through December, they are at their peak now, in November. I rarely come across persimmons myself, which led me to the quiet semi-conscious belief that they are not an A+ option for sustainability. But the best experts in all domains seem to say that sticking with goals, principles, and other positively motivated choices requires some flexibility to the walls that define your boundaries. My sister, Susan, who lives in Pacifica, CA, has been tantalizing me with her description of the persimmon and pomegranate salad that is her favorite to prepare. So, when I saw persimmons on sale at Sprouts this passed weekend, I leaped at the chance.
The kind of persimmon I’m referring to is the Fuyu variety, which looks like a squat orange tomato and is sweet and smooth, with a texture like a mango, or papaya. The more widely available variety, the Hachiya, is bitter until fully ripe, and acorn-shaped. On Sunday, my good friend Melissa and I cooked dinner while Dave battled an insane course and crazy conditions at the Silverman full iron distance triathlon in Henderson, NV. We made pumpkin ravioli, pumpkin pie pudding with pumpkin biscotti, and this persimmons, pomegranate, and asian pear salad. It was constructed based on Susan’s, and somewhat resembles this Martha Stewart recipe, so I can’t really personally take credit for it, but it’s a pretty awesome template, I’d say, and is gorgeous to look at, like bejeweled greens. There’s loads of potential for variation, too. I wish I’d taken a picture before we ate it! I’ll have to make it again soon. November is a glorious month. : )
Persimmon, Pomegranate and Asian Pear Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette
- 4 cups torn mixed greens (include, or substitute spinach leaves or arugula)
2 Fuyu persimmons, cut into thin wedges
- 1 Asian pear, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- salt and pepper to taste
- seeds from 1 large pomegranate (about 1 cup)
- *optional, goat or feta cheese
1. In a large bowl combine greens, persimmons and pear.
2. Whisk together mustard, honey, lemon and orange juices, seasonings, and oil. Toss with salad. Add salt and pepper to taste.
3. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and goat cheese (if using) and serve.
Photo credit: Flikr user mbgrigby