Aside from citrus I feel that persimmons are my favorite winter fruit, be careful though, pick the wrong ones and eat them at the wrong time and you will experience the worst cotton mouth ever, I know from experience….
There are a few types of persimmons out there and some can be eaten right off the shelf and others need to ripen. They can be firm as a pear but eat like a mango, or you can spoon out the insides and eat it like a pudding, both are delicious.m Persimmons are typically orange to yellow in color and have a defined greenish calyx, or sepal on top.
Fuyu persimmons look like a yellow-orange to red-orange tomato, they will start firm and soften over a period of time. The benefit of fuyu’s is that they can be eaten when firm, remove the calyx and you can eat the skin and all.
Hachiya persimmons are the ones you need to be careful of, if eaten while firm or even semi-firm the tannins in the fruit will dry your mouth out in a flash. It is very unpleasant as I have experienced this before and no amount of water will re-hydrate your mouth. The key to eating a hachiya is to let it sit out until it feels like a rotten tomato. At this point you can easily pull the calyx out and split the fruit in half. Grab a spoon and dig in. I remember having my first persimmon in Italy, which they go by the name kaki, the family took a spoon, split the persimmon in half and let us spoon it out like pudding. The fruit will still be firm but it is very tender and pleasant.
Ripe Hachiya Persimmon
Ripe Hachiya Persimmon
I paired fuyu persimmons with some cured pork loin (Lomo), arugula, Meyer lemon vinaigrette, olive oil powder, cocoa nibs, Buddha hands zest, and local meadowfoam honey.
Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette
5ea Meyer lemons juiced and zest of 2
1T Chopped Tarragon
1/2ea Shallot Brunoise
AN Blended oil/Canola oil
Pinch Pink Pepper
- Combine the first four ingredients and whisk until honey is dissolved
- Whisk in the oil and taste until the dressing is well-balanced, not too acidic but not to dull (too much oil). It will be just over a 50/50 blend of Meyer lemon juice to oil.
- Add salt to your liking and the pink pepper, it is best to let this dressing sit for a few hours to infuse the flavors.
To assemble the salad:
- Slice the persimmon as thin as you can and with a circle cutter, just smaller than the size of the slice, cut the flesh away from the skin.
- Arrange the slices onto a plate. At this point you can wrap the plate with plastic and hold until you are ready to serve.
- Using a meat slicer, slice the cured meat of your choice as thin as possible, preferably on a meat slicer, and set aside.
- Prepare olive oil powder in the same fashion as my truffle bacon salt, substituting the bacon fat and truffle oil for olive oil.
- Slice the finger portion of Buddha hands as thin as possible and set aside.
- Place a small handful of arugula into a bowl, add a pinch of the Buddha hands citrus, and season with salt and drizzle with a little olive oil.
- Place the lettuce on top of the persimmons followed by the cocoa nibs
- Add the cured meat and the olive oil powder. Drizzle the honey over the top as well as 1-2T of the Meyer lemon vinaigrette.