I was once frivolous with persimmons. Injudicious with their use. Didn’t use ‘em fast enough? Oh well, Grandma had a tree, there were PLENTY. Want a REAL fruit cake? Here’s persimmon cake--juicy, moist but firm, full of complimentary golden raisins or currants. OH!!!! And the COOKIES!!! I would scatter these to the masses without heed to the coming apocalypse.
Our county has fungus. It killed Grandma’s 30+ year-old persimmon tree, and with it, a piece of my heart. Persimmon salad and baked goods are some of the first memories I have of my Mom and Grandmother’s cooking, the first times we baked together. Poor, dead tree, it couldn’t have known how rash my youth had truly been.
So now I am older, greedier, and have to buy the sweet, precious beauties like the rest of you suckers. Except for one looooovely woman, Purple Kathy, a fellow knitter and gustatorial maven. Also, Kathy the Persimmon Tree Owner. You heard me.
She pinged the other night and asked if anyone in the area might just want some persimmons. She doesn’t live far away, I’m surprised she didn’t hear me howling from home. She also delivered to my doorstep, an extra service atop an honor to which my past persimmon indiscretions leave me undeserving. There are two major types of persimmon, Fuyu and Hachiya. Hachiya are terrible until they are super-ultra ripe and hard to work with. I know a few devotees, but the most widely available are the squat, round Fuyu persimmons--sweet and crisp like an apple and can be eaten out of hand if you just can’t wait.
I have now agonized over the best use of my bag of persimmons, once again risking rot in the face of indecision, so I started with salad.
For dressing persimmons I really do prefer citrus, and the CUMIN IS ESSENTIAL. This is a Magic Mom Product (TM). When I was a kid, Cumin smelled like...persperation. Then it went into dressing and onto this fruit and became a smokey, lemony, savory counterpoint to the sweet, crisp fruit that I have never forgotten and never fails to make me actually drool the moment I set eyes on even a photo of a persimmon. It’s that good. I added sweet curry powder for an extra trill of savory counterpoint to the fruit and always use stronger, slightly bitter greens such as mixed field greens, lighter baby kale or spinach because underneath it all, persimmon is firm with a good snap when it’s fresh. Keep it all nice and toothsome.
If you are a persimmon aficionado, you will have a preference for skins on or off. If you are an eager novice, I find them kinda chewy, so I peel them, quarter, remove any disagreeable centers and slice. Then dress with this vinaigrette based on a standard 4-serving recipe--just use the 3:1 Oil-to-Acid ratio then math it up or down according to need.
PERSIMMONIOUS VINAIGRETTE DRESSING:
3 TB GOOD SALAD OIL: Favorites include Walnut, Olive, Avocado.
1 TB LIME JUICE, FRESHLY SQUEEZED
1/4 tsp DIJON MUSTARD
1/8 tsp GROUND CUMIN
1/8 tsp SMOKED PAPRIKA
OPTIONAL: 1/8 tsp SWEET CURRY POWDER (I used Penzey’s Balti Curry blend)
PINCH KOSHER SALT
FEW GRINDS Fresh Black Pepper
Add the nuts to the greens, dress and toss well, then TELL NO-ONE IT’S READY--Pin It Now!
There are times when snorking it up yourownself is the wisest resource management policy.