Persimmons are quite special. I have seen them at the produce sections many times but didn’t really get to know them until we went to Spain recently. Although it is an Asian fruit, Spain has adopted it and it is now rising in agricultural importance and popularity there. What I heard in Spain is that the persimmon production “saved” their agricultural export. They are grown mainly in Valencia but also in Castellon and Andalusia and some varieties from the Ribera de Xuquer are protected by the Spanish Denomination of Origin (DO).
Persimmons are round and smooth, the size of an apple and are bright orange in colour (there are varietal differences in size and colour). They have a thin, edible skin and smooth and velvety texture inside similar to peach or a mango. Some persimmons varieties have soft gelatinous flesh that you can eat with a spoon, and some, like the ones I am using, have a more firm flesh that you can cut like an a peach or a mango.
I was making a farro salad for lunch today and wanted something fruity in it. The persimmons were a perfect fit, not too sweet, beautiful colour and good texture to go with the chewy farro. I used an orange flavoured dressing that I had on hand but next time I’ll try to incorporate the persimmon into the dressing. I picked a few small herb leaves and flowers to add a few layers of flavour and sprinkled the salad with candied hazelnuts that I had in the freezer (and you should too). Other ideas: pumpkin seeds, feta cheese, a few cooked lentils etc.
1 cup farro
1 persimmon, cut into medium dice
1 few leaves of radicchio, sliced into thin ribbons.
A handful flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped/
1/4 cup chopped caramelized hazelnuts or another nut (you can buy them from a pastry shop, mine are from Sandrine).
optional: 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons small herb leaves and herb flowers
Orange vinaigrette (recipe below)
Rinse the farro under cold water then place in a bowl , cover with water and let soak 15 minutes. Drain, place in a pot, cover with water by a couple fo inches and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook until the farro is cooked but not mushy. Drain and rinse (it will remove the gelatinous coating) and set aside.
Cu the persimmon into chunks and add to the farro.
Add some of the dressing and mix.
Add the radicchio, parsley and feta and toss gently.
Scatter some more cheese on top and sprinkle with the herb leaves and flowers.
Serve at room temperature.
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup orange juice
2 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1-2 tablespoons lemon juice (start with one)
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
Freshly ground pepper
Combine all ingredients in a jar and shake to mix.