Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Persimmon, Pomegranate, and Pistachios with Arugula

Recently our office fruit basket was stocked with some lovely Fuyu persimmons and pomegranates; although I must admit that it is a bit ridiculous to think that someone would eat a pomegranate at work.  Inspired to make something new (and colorful) for dinner, I grabbed both fall favorites. Usually the fruit is delivered at its peak so I was a bit surprised that the persimmon felt as firm as an apple. My only previous experience with persimmons was a wonderful dessert I had at Green Zebra in Chicago a few years ago. After a quick Google search I learned that Fuyu persimmons, shaped like a tomato, are firm when ripe while the Hachiya variety, shaped like an acorn, become very soft- like a water balloon- when ripe. Fuyu persimmon is perfectly for slicing and throwing into salad, while Hachiya persimmon works great as a puree in cakes and breads.

On the other hand, pomegranate is very familiar to me as it was synonymous with fall in our house while I was growing up. My mom would lovingly peel pomegranate and pick out each seed for me. I would eagerly sit on the edge of my seat, watching her patiently prepare the fruit with such attention. Although I love pomegranate, as an adult I rarely buy it- it is just so much work. Hmm, if only my mom could still peel it for me! 

In my previous post I mentioned the Sunday Suppers at Lucques cookbook; with a focus on seasonal ingredients "from market to table", it was the perfect source for my search. The result was an absolutely addicting salad. What a healthy way to combine some of the best flavors of fall!

Persimmon, pomegranate, and raw pistachios are tossed with peppery arugula and tart pickle-like shallots and dressed with a light vinaigrette of lemon, pomegranate juice, sherry vinegar, and rice vinegar. The original recipe calls for toasted hazelnuts, but I opted for coarsely chopped raw pistachios instead. Beautiful colors, complementing sweet and tart flavors, and contrasting textures, are all balanced by bright acidity and peppery arugula making this a fabulous salad for entertaining.

Persimmon, Pomegranate, and Pistachio Arugula Salad (Adapted from Sunday Suppers at Lucques)
1 Fuyu persimmon, thinly sliced
1 to 2 pomegranates- 3 tbsp fresh juice and 1/3 cup of seeds
1/2 lb arugula, cleaned and dried
1/2 cup raw pistachios
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
2 tsp rice vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp diced shallot
1-2 small shallots, thinly sliced lengthwise
1/2 lemon, for juicing
sea salt
black pepper

Place diced shallot, pomegranate juice, sherry vinegar, rice vinegar, and 1/2 tsp salt in a bowl and let sit for 5 minutes. Whisk in the olive oil and taste for balance and seasoning.

In a large salad bowl, toss persimmons, sliced shallots, and pomegranate seeds with the dressing. Season with salt and pepper. Gently toss in the arugula. Taste for seasoning and add a squeeze or two of lemon. Arrange salad on platter and scatter pistachios on top. Serve immediately.

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