I had never eaten a persimmon before moving to California, but these days I've come to anticipate the arrival of the sweet orange fruit. That said, I still have a problem finding uses for it (other than slicing a piece and popping it in my mouth, of course), so I was pleased to try Tara Mataraza Desmond's expertly balanced and alliterative persimmon, pomegranate, and pistachio salad from her new cookbook, Choosing Sides. Peppery arugula leaves and delicate slices of anisey fennel add crunch and vegetal depth to the otherwise sweet assemblage, making for an excellent accompaniment to heavier Thanksgiving dishes.
Why I picked this recipe: I'll happily sample all the new persimmon recipes I can get my hands on.
What worked: The lemon-honey vinaigrette gently brought the sweet, tangy, and bitter flavors together into a cohesive whole. And I was appreciative of the colorful aesthetics of the dish—it's a real knockout.
What didn't: No problems here.
Suggested tweaks: I tossed the arugula mixture in the vinaigrette before placing it atop the persimmon slices, which I gave another drizzle in order to make sure that everything was properly dressed. Desmond suggests multiple substitutions for the lemon, if you want to mix things up. Add pomegranate molasses for more tang, balsamic vinegar for sweetness, or soy sauce for extra umami.
About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American, KQED's Bay Area Bites, and Berkeleyside NOSH. Follow her @KateHWiliams.