Bittersweet Winter Fruit Salad with Persimmon and Pomegranate

One thinks of winter as a time for starches laden with butter and cream, hearty stews, and rich desserts.  There are, however, a few fruits, whose season reach their peak this time of year.  Rather than a mealy, out of season tomato tasting only of astringent cardboard, you should turn instead to winter fruits, such as persimmons, when you need to exercise a bit of restraint in the few weeks leading up to the holidays.

Persimmons are sweet, and a bit tangy, and look sort of like orange tomatoes.  The most common persimmons sold, are fuyu, which can be eaten raw, when still firm, and hichaya, which must ripe until soft, and are traditionally made into puddings.

IMG_0381

Mise en Place

Equipment

  • large bowl
  • medium bowl
  • sheet pan lined with parchment
  • oven preheated to 350 degrees
  • garlic press
  • fine mesh strainer
  • whisk
  • rolling pin

Ingredients

Candied walnuts

  • 1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbs light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground
  • 1/4 tsp allspice, ground
  • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger

Dressing

  • 1/2 cup apple juice, or apple cider
  • 2 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 finely minced shallot
  • 1/8 tsp mustard powder
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 2 fuyu persimmons
  • 1 large pomegranate
  • 1 head radicchio
  • 2 head endive

1)  Season and roast the walnuts.  In a medium bowl toss the walnuts with olive oil to coat.  Add the brown sugar, cinnamon and allspice.  Press the ginger through a garlic press, catching the fiber in a strainer, pouring the juice into the bowl.  Spread the walnuts on the parchment line sheet pan and roast for 10-15 minutes.

2) Make the dressing, as the walnuts roast.  Mix the apple juice, vinegar, honey, and mustard powder in a medium bowl.  Add the olive oil, pouring in a thin stream, while constantly whisking to emulsify.  Reserve.

3) Prepare the persimmon and greens, as the walnuts cool.  Quarter the radicchio and remove the core.  Slice into 1/2 inch wide wedges.  Core the endive, and slice each frond in half lengthwise.  Peel and core the persimmons and slice into 1/4 inch thick wedges.

4) Compose the salad.  Place the greens and persimmon in a large bowl and toss with the dressing.  Transfer to serving dishes.  Top with the seasoned walnuts.  Wipe out the large bowl.  Slice the pomegranate in half across the equator.  Take each half, holding it sliced side down, over the large bowl, while rapping its peel with the rolling pin.  Remove any pith that made it to the bowl with the seeds.  Garnish the salads with pomegranate seeds and serve.

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