Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Autumn harvest salad with persimmons

I had already pretty much decided on the menu for the Young Man's 14th (!) birthday party when I discovered the recipe on which I based this pretty salad at the NPR Food site just 2 days before the big event. I saw it and I had to have it, menu be damned!

Marrying pears (Japanese nashi in my case) with persimmons and pomegranates (two of my very favourite fruits) as it does, I was always going to fall for this crisp seasonal delight, but to then smother it all with with a citrus dressing?! It was all over.

I wouldn't say that this was a huge hit with the Young People at the party, who were too involved in playing to be much bothered with the food, but we mums more than made up for it. I made various substitutions from the original recipe. The only thing that I left out altogether was the pecans. I ran out of those a while back, but they are on the shopping list for our Christmas visit to Australia, so assuming we still have persimmons and nashi in January when we get back, I might give this another go then. Maybe with Nigel's 3 citrus dressing.
Fingers crossed, as I also have my eye on the persimmon and apple salsa featured in the same article (which you should read to get the full low-down on sweet vs astringent persimmons. There is a difference, and it is the sweet kind (usually squat and squarish here in Japan) that you want for this recipe.

Autumn harvest salad with persimmons

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (apple vinegar in Japan)
1 teaspoon grainy Dijon mustard (or regular Dijon plus 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds)
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons orange juice
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint
Salt and pepper, to taste

1 head of interesting lettuce (a bitter kind, for preference)
1 small bag of baby leaf salad
1 sweet persimmon, peeled and cut into 8 wedges
1 nashi, peeled and cut into thin wedges
1 handful sultanas or raisins (soaked in any remaining orange juice)
1/4 cup pomegranate arils (the edible red pieces of the fruit)

1 For the vinaigrette, shake all ingredients in a small jar and set aside.

2 In a large bowl, toss the lettuce, baby leaf, persimmons and pears. Pour half of the vinaigrette over salad and toss until coated. Add sultanas and pomegranate arils. Drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette.

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