A neighbor of mine in Tokyo had a glorious Fuyu persimmon tree that, season after season, produced a spectacular number of brightly colored fruit. One heavily laden branch drooped fortuitously over their fence and into my yard and I feasted (with their permission) for months on the golden beauties. Before moving to Japan, I had somehow gone my then 25 years without ever having tasted a persimmon, but soon my deficiency turned into addiction. Many of my dinners consisted simply of sliced persimmons and piping hot sweet potatoes that I purchased from the little roving barbecue carts that traveled slowly through the streets, loudly touting their goods.
Fuyu persimmons - richly sweet with hints of pear, dates, and cinnamon - are round and squat-shaped and can be eaten when they are firm, unlike their larger acorn-shaped sibling the Hachiya, which must be quite ripe and near custard-like in texture before it can be consumed. Both are delicious in their own right (Hachiyas are wonderful to bake with), but a nice firm Fuyu is wonderful eaten on its own or tossed into salads. While persimmons are in season, try pairing them with another fall favorite: pomegranates. I love to slice Fuyus (skin on or off, it's up to you), then toss them with pomegranate arils (the seeds), a bit of honey, lemon juice, chopped mint, and a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg. It's so refreshing and beautiful to behold with its striking fall colors!
Easy Persimmon and Pomegranate Salad
3 medium Fuyu persimmons
1 pomegranate, arils removed (or look for the arils only in the refrigerated section of your supermarket's produce department)
5 leaves fresh mint, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon honey
The juice of a small lemon
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (or to your taste)
Peel (or leave the skin on if you'd like) the persimmons, then cut in half and slice into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Set aside in a medium bowl.
Cut the pomegranate in half across the center. Hold the pomegranate cut side down in the palm of your hand and, over a bowl, whack the outside with the back of a soup spoon. The arils should easily release into the bowl. Add arils to the persimmons.
Add the chopped mint, honey, lemon juice, and nutmeg; toss thoroughly and serve immediately.
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