Fuyu persimmons are the tomato shaped variety that are a beautiful orange hue. Because they are not astringent, they can be eaten when apple-like firm, or when slightly softened.
They are generally available late September through December.
I love to add them to a ginger-enriched spinach salad. First, I create some ginger juice to create an irresistible edge to the dressing. Squeeze the grated ginger. Go on, it works.
Partner it with cider vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper. Whisk in the extra-virgin olive oil and Asian sesame oil. Delicious, right? Oh one more thing, some chopped shallots.
Now those persimmons! Cut out the calyx and peel them – cut them into wedges. In a large bowl, toss the wedges with a couple of tablespoons of dressing. In goes the clean baby spinach. Sprinkle each serving with toasted sesame seeds.
Great to serve for the holidays. Make the dressing a day ahead and refrigerate airtight. Yum.
SPINACH AND FUYU PERSIMMON SALAD
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
6 ounces fresh ginger (about two (3-inch) plump knobs)
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
1 cup vegetable oil or extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
2 bags (10 ounces each) washed baby spinach
3 firm Fuyu persimmons, washed, wiped dry
Garnish: 4 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds, see cook’s notes
Cook’s notes: To toast sesame seeds place a plate next to stove. Place seeds in a small skillet on medium heat. Shake handle of pan as they start to brown to redistribute seeds; watch them carefully because they burn easily. Turn out into the plate to stop browning.
1. Prepare the dressing: Shred ginger on the large holes of a box grater. Wrap half of the shredded ginger in the corner of a clean kitchen towel. Wring ginger over a small bowl to extract juice. Reserve juice and discard the juiced ginger. Repeat with remaining ginger. You should have about 4 tablespoons of ginger juice.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk vinegar, ginger juice, sugar, salt and pepper. Gradually whisk in oil. Stir in shallots. Cover tightly and refrigerate until ready to serve. Dressing can be prepared 1 day ahead; whisk well before using.
3. Using a small sharp pointed knife, cut out the green calyx from the top of each persimmon. Peel persimmons with a swivel-bladed vegetable peeler. Cut the peeled persimmons into 1/4-inch-wide wedges. Place in a small bowl, cover tightly and refrigerate until ready to serve. Persimmons can be prepared up to 4 hours ahead.
4. Toss persimmons with 2 tablespoons of dressing. In large bowl, toss spinach with remaining dressing and persimmon wedges. Divide between salad plates. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve immediately.
Source: “Thanksgiving 101” by Rick Rodgers (Broadway Books, 1998, $15)