We’re food people, and Thanksgiving is our holiday. We start to prepare for weeks in advance. We create multiple spreadsheets. If we’re very smart, we prepare as much as we can in advance. (We’re usually not that smart, even with the best of intentions.)
As the turkey timer ticks down, there is nary a kitchen surface unused, not a pot left unfilled in our glorious ballet of kitchen chaos. All available hands are plating, mashing, whipping, and carving.
In the middle of the madness, the CO detector usually goes off, most likely from using the oven and all four stove top burners, all day.
Last year, the turkey rested in a hallway.
Despite all the chaos, Thanksgiving is a time when we look forward to creating everyone’s favorite special dishes for each other. This Spiced Persimmon Pomegranate Salad has become one of our Thanksgiving favorites.
How to choose fresh persimmons
Persimmons are in season from October through February – a delicious wintertime fruit. Most markets stock two varieties: Fuyu and Hachiya.
I use Fuyu persimmons for this salad. They look like a slightly-flattened orange tomato. They are ripe when their flesh yields to a gentle press, like an over-ripe tomato. Read more about persimmons on Wikipedia.
Persimmons are easy to use if you can get them at the correct state of ripeness. There are no peels or seeds to discard, just remove the stem and dice them up.
Persimmons pair perfectly with apples and pomegranate seeds, two other great fall fruits. The sweet-spicy dressing with ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and honey brings it all together, creating a fresh and crisp salad that pairs perfectly with your choice of Thanksgiving carbs.
How to seed a pomegranate
I like using this technique for seeding a pomegranate in water. It helps eliminate the spray of pomegranate juice all over my kitchen, and the white pith material floats to the top of the water, making it easy to discard.
For the salad…
- 2 Jiro persimmons – see note below
- 1 large honeycrisp apple
- 1 pomegranate
- 3 tbsp fennel, minced
For the dressing…
- 1 tsp ginger, grated
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp ground allspice
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1/2 valencia orange, juiced
- 1 generous pinch of salt
- Remove the stems from the persimmons and cut into a small dice.
- Core the apple and dice into small pieces.
- Score the skin of the pomegranate in quarters. Fill a medium-sized bowl with water. Placing the pomegranate under water in the bowl, pull the quarters apart and gently loosen the seeds. The seeds will sink to the bottom of the bowl, and the pieces of white membrane will float to the top. Pour off part of the water and the membrane pieces and drain the pomegranate seeds in a colander.
- In a large bowl, combine persimmons, apple, pomegranate seeds, and minced fennel.
- In a smaller bowl, combine ingredients for the dressing. Whisk together until brown sugar is dissolved.
- Pour dressing over salad, and toss gently to combine.
- Optional: garnish with green fennel fronds before serving.