Skip to main content

Pomegranates and Persimmons


Pomegranates and Persimmons

In case you haven’t been paying attention, the food world is in the midst of a renewed love affair with pomegranates and persimmons, and they are a formidable culinary combination.

Pomegranates are easier to tackle than it appears.  Simply cut in half through the middle, hold the cut end down in your palm over a bowl and whack the uncut side with a wooden spoon.  Seeds come flying out (best to have a nice generous bowl for this process) along with some of the white membrane that holds them in place.  Hopefully I don’t have to tell you the membrane is yucky and should be composted.  Seeds are ready for eating or juicing at this point.



Persimmons are the tomato of winter in our house.  They are in season now in Virginia, and when choosing an eating persimmon, choose a Fuyu variety, the ones that look like an orange tomato and are pretty firm.  The peel can be a little tough, but it is edible, so make the call to peel on whether you’re feeling up to it (a veg peeler works well) or your guests warrant the effort, i.e., will your mother-in-law complain?  The Hachiyas are tasty as well, but not to be eaten fresh until they’re good and ripe (read: soft and schmooshy).  You’ll know Hachiyas by their large acorn like appearance.  For all you mnemonic people out there, Hachiyas ‘hatch a seed’, Fuyus ‘eff yeah I want a bite.’  Hey, you’ll remember it now, won’t you?  Just don’t pass this trick on to the kids.

So why do these two autumn superstars work well together?  I think it’s a combination of the disparity in texture, as well as the contrast in acidity.  Persimmons are creamy and dense, with a subtle sweetness that plays backup to the vegetal fruitiness.  Pomegranate seeds aren’t dense at all, until you hit the tiny crunchy nugget in the center of the seed, which is a nice surprise and adds meatiness to an otherwise ethereal experience.  The bright acidity with a touch of twang brings out the best in a persimmon, and the persimmon adds character and depth to the pomegranate.  Substitute the combination of p&p for tomato and onion in a salsa, and watch the magic unfold when paired with a piece of grilled fish or over a salty queso fundido.  Magic I tell you, magic!

Our fastest and most favorite way to enjoy p&p is in a fresh salad, where the flavors are separate but combine to make a bright and palate readying appetizer.  This salad would also be fantastic at the end of a meal, when you want a little something to cleanse, with some cheese, but you don’t want dessert.  Have I mentioned the beauty of the composition??  The bright orange of the persimmon and the gemlike quality of the pomegranates are a feast for the eyes as well as the tummy.  




Persimmon and Pomegranate Salad - The Basics
serves 4 as a side

Greens - three nice fat handfuls of a green with a little bitterness to it, like arugula, frisee, baby kale or a combination thereof.  Mesclun makes a nice base, especially if bolstered with a little endive or radicchio.

1/2 pomegranate, just the seeds

2 Fuyu persimmons, stem removed, peeled if you like, sliced

at least 2 ounces of a good, salty cheese, like Manchego, ricotta salata, feta or gorgonzola

1/3 cup nuts, your choice, but I like the Pomegranate, Persimmon, Pecan alliteration

That’s it.  The basics.  Add a nice vinaigrette, nothing too flashy, maybe add a little smoked paprika or other interesting herb, and voila!  You look like a food stylist.  Our favorite dressing for this salad is a simple white balsamic vinaigrette, with a dash of garlic dust in it.  Lemon, honey and thyme comes a close second.  

If you wanted to really gussy up the salad, add a few pears that you’ve baked off with a dusting of cardamom. Prosciutto shavings are divine with persimmons - think melon and prosciutto and you have the flavor profile.  My mouth is watering just considering the possibilities.  Hope you get on the persimmon train this week - let us know how you use them!




Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Oven Roasting Fresh Tomatoes for Pasta Sauce

A while back I wrote a post about using the preserved tomato sauce from 2008 that we still had in our pantry. It was the last jar of what was the best tomato crop we have grown -- to date. This weekend we picked and roasted the first batch from this year's garden with high hopes that we could match the richness of flavor from that magical year.

I wanted to share the process, especially since it's so simple, at least up to the canning, which I won't cover here. Those of you that can know it's not really hard, just a little time consuming.

The first step is pretty obvious, get yourself some tomatoes. We like to grow our own, but you can also buy them from a farm or farm market. Here's a little tip if you decide to buy -- offer to buy the "seconds", you know, the less than perfect tomatoes that everyone else has passed on. They can have blemishes, partial spoilage and even the occasionally bug hole. Don't worry, you're going to cut away any bad par…

2008 was a very good year....

...for tomatoes in Newburgh, NY. That's where we lived then and where we grew, roasted and canned tomato sauce. We actually did that every year but there was something magical about the quart mason jars full of that 2008 vintage. Last night, as part of Meatless Monday dinner, we opened the last one.  Nearly 4 year old tomato sauce you say? Isn't that, um, dangerous? Not at all if the jars are initially prepared correctly, the canning process is carried out properly and the seal remains intact. It was both exciting and a little sad to crack open that seal, but the finished meal made it all worth it. Cynthia's original recipe was a perfect use for that special vintage.


Herbed Crepes with Ricotta, Spinach and Chard Filling
Ingredients (crepes) 1 cup AP flour1 cup + 2-4 tbsp liquid of your choice, could be stock, milk, beer, water or any combination thereof - I used 1 cup Better than Bouillon No Chicken and 3 tablespoons of Duck Rabbit Milk Stout beer3 large eggs2 tbsp unsalted q…

Authentic Unbeatable Swedish Meatballs!

Think Ikea, But 100 Times Better
A Guest Post by Anneli from Delicieux
I am delighted to be back here on A Reluctant Foodie doing another guest post for Al. Our last challenge (Stuffed Peppers) was such fun that we decided to do it again and this time I suggested 'Balls"!

'Balls' was a fun choice as it gives such a large scope for experimenting - meatballs, fish balls, rice balls, chocolate balls, ice cream balls...the possibilities are endless. Not to mention the childishness of repeatedly writing 'balls'!! (and yes, I'm 36, not 3!)

In fact, I had no trouble at all deciding which 'balls' I was going to make, it was inevitable. I am half Swedish and I was brought up in a house where certain Swedish foods were regulars at our table. I was aware of Ikea and their meatballs before the rest of the world began their love affair with them.

My Mormor (Grandma) used to make them fresh and serve them with dollops of sweet lingon berry sauce, boiled potatoes …