Endive & Fuyu Persimmon Salad with Pecans

You Say Persimmon, I say…Well…Persimmon

We are fortunate to have a Fuyu Persimmon tree in our backyard. For those who are unfamiliar, the Fuyu is the flat persimmon that you eat while it’s still firm. Not the ones that are teardrop shaped and make you pucker unless they are über soft.

I have never really been a huge fan of The Persimmon. My grandmother would make a persimmon salad for Thanksgiving every year, and every year I would scrape the persimmon off and eat the rest of the salad. She would also make persimmon pudding. Again, not one of my favorites. Of course, that’s when I was a kid. As I’ve gotten older my tastes have changed.

While persimmons are not exactly what I reach for when I am in need of a snack, I do enjoy them from time to time. My daughter, however, will go and grab them off the tree anytime the mood strikes. I wholeheartedly encourage this behavior, though she did teach the chickens to do the same thing. Nothin’ like playing in the yard and grabbing a snack.

The crop this year has been crazy-big and earlier than normal. I blame it on the cool summer and lack of water. We were eating persimmons in mid-September, way before you would see them in the market. Yesterday, we picked a bunch of persimmons to give to our neighbors for use in their restaurant. This was the third round of harvesting and it looks like we will probably get one more in before the leaves drop, though I may just pick them and use them as decoration. The color is perfect for October…as is this salad.

Endive & Fuyu Persimmon Salad with Pecans
Recipe adapted from The Zuni Cafe Cookbook by Judy Rogers

A rich, slippery, fleshy salad that can just as easily be a dessert. Choose Fuyus that are saturated orange in color and as firm as a slightly underripe peach, or the skin of a just ripe banana. (Don’t use the torpedo-shaped Hachiya persimmons, which need to be jelly-soft before they are edible.) This salad is also nice with a few sprigs of watercress for contrast. You’ll get a very different flavor balance, still delicious and unusual.

Makes 4 Servings

About 24 pecan halves (1 ounce, or 1/3 cup)
About 1 pound endive (about 4 heads), chilled
1 large or 2 small Fuyu persimmons (about 8 ounces total), chilled
About 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
About I tablespoon Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Warm the pecans on a small baking sheet for about 4 minutes, just to heighten their flavor. Transfer them to a plate and allow them coo. Then break them in half along the natural folds.

Remove or trim any damaged outer leaves from the endive. Rinse, dry, and then slice each one on a steep angle into long, saber like pieces. Roll the endive a quarter-turn between each cut. Work your way down to the solid core, and discard it.

Use the tip of a paring knife to carve out the stem end of the persimmons, then remove a thin wedge and taste. If the skin is tender and you like it, leave it on; otherwise, peel with a vegetable peeler. Cut the persimmons into 1/4-inch-thick wedges.

Combine the oil, vinegar, and salt to taste. This vinaigrette should be mild.

Gently toss the endive, persimmons, and pecans in the vinaigrette to coat well. Separate any leaves of endive that remain sandwiched together. Taste.

Serve on cold plates.


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