Persimmon Vinaigrette & Super Salad
Persimmons, Autumn’s harbinger with brilliant orange exterior and if they are the acorn shaped Hachiyas perplexing with the stringent tart taste if you make the mistake of trying to eat them before their interior is the consistency of jam. Traditionally used for baking; in breads, puddings and cookies with a combination of traditional spices. Old school holiday comfort food for those of us who had grandmothers that baked.
We are fortunate to have two persimmon trees and as the temperature drops, the vibrant Fuyu leaves change color from verdant green to yellow to red. Each leaf much like an abstract painting, nature’s work of art. The Hachiya leaves are large and thinner and seem to turn golden orange all at once, hiding the showy orbs that become winter’s ornaments when the tree is shed of all foliage.
In season we have no shortage of ripe fruit, which brings a certain dilemma as to what to do with them. Certainly we share the bounty, but in truth not many folks really want them and in fact are a bit fearful of their mysterious nature. I on the other hand embrace their uniqueness and encourage you to do the same. If you are not a baker, then this super salad (named for the highly healthy salad mix of kale, spinach, chard in tender baby sized leaves) dressed in a persimmon vinaigrette with a touch of maple and cinnamon makes for a truly delightful fall dish. Not scary — at all.
The tangy greens are a nice contrast to the sweet spiced dressing and a sprinkle of herbed feta cheese and walnuts round out the flavor profile. If you have never added squash to your fall salad you might think of using a sweet, firm fleshed variety like Delicata, Kombucha or Butternut roasted tender. Be creative and make your own version of a Super Salad.
- 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil plus ½ cup separated
- 1 tablespoon minced Shallots
- 1 teaspoon minced Garlic
- 1 cup fresh Hachiya persimmon pulp (about 4 persimmons)
- ½ cup White Balsamic Vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
- ½ teaspoon dried Thyme
- 2 teaspoons Maple Syrup Grade A Dark
- ½ teaspoon Saigon Cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon Kosher Salt
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground Black Pepper
- 5 cups mixed Baby Super Greens (kale, spinach, beet roots, chard)
- 2 cups roasted Delicata Squash (or other favorite)
- 1 cup roasted chopped Walnuts
- ½ cup dried Cranberries
- ⅛ cup sliced red or yellow Onion
- ½ cup Herbed Feta Cheese
- ½ cup diced red or yellow Bell Pepper
- ¼ cup Pepitas (pumpkin seeds) instead of Walnuts
- Peel and remove core of persimmons, collect soft flesh in small bowl. Measure 1 cup.
- Setup Blender.
- Saute shallots and garlic in heavy bottom skillet until soften over medium high heat for about 2 minutes.
- Add soft persimmon pulp and continue cooking for another 2 minutes.
- Add the vinegars to deglaze the pan, stirring to incorporate thoroughly.
- Continue cooking until mixture reduces by half, then remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes before adding to blender.
- In the blender add persimmon mixture, thyme, maple syrup, cinnamon, salt and pepper.
- Blend for 30 seconds.
- With the machine running, slowly drizzle ½ cup olive oil through the feed opening and continue to process until smooth.
- Pour dressing through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl.
- Cool and then cover and refrigerate for at least one hour before dressing salads.
- Mix greens, onion, cranberries, peppers, and squash in large bowl.
- Pour a good amount of vinaigrette (1/2 cup or so) over and toss to mix.
- Either arrange on four plates and top with walnuts and herbed Feta Cheese or for family style add both just before serving.
- Reference Recipe, Emeril’s Mixed Salad with Blackberry Vinaigrette