Every November, a box of Fuyu persimmons arrives at my doorstep. They come all the way from California, lovingly gathered from a friend’s garden by my father and then individually wrapped before being shipped to me.
This year, my father had warned me that the harvest was meager, so I was doubly excited when a large box of these sweet treasures was delivered!
Although persimmons are best known for their contribution to desserts, one of my favorite ways to eat them is in salads. Their exotic flavor and delicate sweetness balance out the bitter greens marvelously. Add to that the cayenne-spiked lime vinaigrette and every bite of this salad is refreshing and tantalizing – a pure delight for the taste buds.
Food & wine pairing: Off-dry Riesling with Fuyu persimmon salad
A slightly off-dry Riesling (like a German Spätlese) is delicious here. It’ll pair equally well with the exotic, almost tropical flavors of the persimmons and the cayenne-spiked vinaigrette.
Watercress and radicchio salad with Fuyu persimmons and spicy lime vinaigrette
For the vinaigrette
- 1/4 teaspoon lime zest (use amicroplane grater)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon honey
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne
For the salad
- 2 bunches hydroponic watercress – stems trimmed, rinsed and spun dry (regular watercress or baby arugula are good substitutes)
- 1 medium radicchio (8 oz) (225 g) – leaves torn in 2″ pieces
- 2 large, ripe but still firm Fuyu persimmons – peeled and cut in 1/2″ cubes
- 1/4 cup roasted, salted cashew pieces
- freshly ground white pepper to taste
- Step 1:In a small bowl, whisk the zest, lime juice, oil, honey, cayenne and salt until well blended and set aside.
- Step 2:Place the watercress and radicchio in a large mixing bowl. Add two thirds of the vinaigrette and toss until all the leaves are well coated. Place the greens in individual salad bowls or in a large serving bowl. Garnish with the persimmons and cashews. Drizzle the balance of the vinaigrette over the fruit. Finish with ground white pepper and serve.