Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Fuyu Persimmons

If you've never really liked persimmons, don't give up yet. Try the Japanese "fuyu" persimmon--it's sweet, delicate, and without that astringent pucker factor. The fruit is ripe when firm, which widens the possible applications. I've used them in sauces, chutneys, salads and desserts. Most recently, I made:

Baby Spinach Salad with Fuyu Persimmon, Balsamic-braised Red Onion, and Pecans

Whenever I get a pound of baby spinach, I look to see if there are any really tiny leaves, and pick them out for use in salads like this one. Note that the leaves are not much bigger than the pecans. I began by sauteeing a sliced red onion in a little EVOO with a bay leaf, salt and pepper, then I added a few tablespoons of this unusual "dark chocolate balsamic vinegar" I got from a specialty store ("Le Roux" in Portland, Maine) and let it bubble for just about a minute. When it had cooled, I drained it and used the juices to make the dressing. Then I tossed the onion and everything else together. A very rich, yet light salad, with nice flavor, color and texture contrast.

On Christmas, after the usual heavy meal everyone expected (and received), I ended with a very light and simple dessert,

Fuyu Persimmons and Cherries with Black Cherry Balsamic and Julienned Buddha Hand Citron Zest

A killer dessert, period. 
Massive carbon footprint (the cherries came all the way from Argentina), but then Christmas is a time of horrific waste, let's face it. Hey, at least we didn't kill any trees. My wife made a very cool cone shape out of bamboo gardening stakes and covered it with lights--it was the best Christmas "tree" ever!

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