Fruit from our orchard. Lucky me.
The glum of early winter doesn't lower one's spirits so badly when there are persimmons around.
I'd never had a persimmon before becoming involved with our land three years ago. I had no idea that that under the waxy smooth skin of the orange beauties lies a succulent, spicy flesh. I've learned that the meat of the fruit is equally good when it is yellowish-orange and still a little firm and crispy or when its full reddish-orange ripeness quivers as it's spooned from the skin. Persimmons, in their full-on ripeness, have a honey-like flavor and texture. In their lesser ripe mode, they are more acidic, but still a lovely thing in every way.
Persimmons cut into slices or wedges, wrapped in proscuitto, drizzled with excellent olive oil and sprinkled with cracked black pepper is a phenomenal appetizer. Do try it if you can find a persimmon or two.
But try this salad first. It is perfect in the winter, and will lift your spirits just by looking at it.
Winter Persimmon Salad
Two or three small persimmons, peeled, halved lengthwise, and sliced 1/4" thick
Crumbly white cheese (I used queso anejo here for its brininess, but really any white crumbly cheese would do)
*Handful of chopped toasted hazelnuts
1/4 cup Sherry vinegar
1/2 cup l'huile do noisette (hazelnut oil)
2 teaspoons dark, flavorful honey
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
Put all dressing ingredients in a recycled jar. Screw the lid on tight, and shake until the salt is dissolved.
Place salad ingredients in a bowl. Drizzle with hazelnut dressing. Toss, and serve.
*I didn't use the hazelnuts in this salad pictured, as hazelnuts showed up in another menu item. Stay tuned for my next post to see what great dish accompanied this salad.