Sweet ripe persimmons shine in this salad with crisp greens, prosciutto, cranberries, goat cheese and toasted pecans.
This persimmon salad is a wonderful addition to any holiday spread while still easy enough to throw together for a seasonal lunch or dinner.
I think persimmons are a divisive fruit.
Either you’ve had them and love them or you’ve likely never tried one and have no desire to.
Or worse, you’ve tried an unripe one and hated it which I totally understand because that experience can be traumatic.
I’m in the former camp though when it comes to this lovely winter fruit.
My grandmother always kept a few on her kitchen counter this time of year and they evoke a sense of nostalgia that makes me remember happy weekend visits at her house.
Food is sort of like music in that way, isn’t it?
Building on that nostalgia, persimmons are the star of the show in this festive winter salad.
I’m a firm believer that every holiday meal needs a green salad. I think it’s the Italian in me but we never had a meal that didn’t end with salad in my family.
That said though, if you’re going to put a salad on the table for a holiday meal, it better be one worth its while.
Enter this persimmon salad.
It’s as visually stunning as it is flavorful yet incredibly simple to put together. My kind of holiday dish!
PERSIMMON SALAD INGREDIENTS
- 1-2 ripe (but not mushy) persimmons
- fresh cranberries
- thinly sliced prosciutto
- toasted pecans
- goat cheese
- crisp winter greens such as frisée, radicchio and baby kale
The dressing for the salad is kept relatively simple. I find the ingredients have so much flavor and interest to them they don’t need a fancy dressing.
- extra virgin olive oil
- apple cider vinegar
- salt and pepper
HOW TO MAKE THIS PERSIMMON SALAD RECIPE
To make the salad, combine the greens, cranberries and persimmon wedges in a large mixing bowl.
Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a separate small bowl and pour over the salad. Toss until well combined.
Plate the salad on a large serving dish.
Fold up slices of prosciutto and nestle them into the salad. Top with the toasted pecans and goat cheese before serving and finish with some coarse flaky salt and pepper.
HOW TO CUT A PERSIMMON FOR SALADS
There’s no right or wrong way to cut a persimmon but for this salad, I like sizable wedges to showcase the fruit.
No matter if you’re using a Fuyu or Hachiya persimmon, remove the green top first.
Slice the fruit in half from top to bottom then cut into wedges of desired thickness.
CAN I EAT THE SKIN OF A PERSIMMON?
Yes, the skin is completely edible on a persimmons.
While some people like to scoop out the flesh from the center much like you would a kiwi, it’s not necessary to do so.
After a good wash, the skin of a persimmon is safe to eat.
WHAT TYPE OF PERSIMMONS SHOULD I USE?
I wrote about the difference between Fuyu and Hachiya persimmons in this persimmon jam recipe.
But to recap, Fuyu are short and squat whereas Hachiya (shown here) are more oblong and pointed on one end.
The major (and most important) difference is that Fuyu can be eaten when still a little firm. I liken them to a pear in this regard. Eating a pear when firm is totally fine and will still taste good, just not as juicy and sweet.
Whereas Hachiya persimmons need to be ripe before eating. This means they should feel soft to the touch.
If you try to eat a Hachiya persimmon before it’s ripe, it will be horribly astringent with a chalky texture much like drinking a high tannin wine and leave you with a feeling of cottonmouth.
Just don’t do it. It’s actually quite disgusting.
If you’re someone who has had a bad run in with persimmons, this is probably why and I encourage you to give them another shot!
So with that said, you can use either Fuyu or Hachiya persimmons for this persimmon salad just remember that one caveat if choosing Hachiya!
WHAT DO PERSIMMONS TASTE LIKE?
Truthfully, persimmons taste like no other fruit. It’s hard to liken them to something more commonly known because they’re really their own thing!
When ripe, they’re incredibly sweet with an almost candy-like taste.
The flesh tends to go from a firmer texture around the outside to a more soft, pudding-like texture close to the middle.
I guess the best description I can give them is sort of like an apricot with undertones of honey.
From a health perspective, they’re rich in vitamin A, C and fiber. (source)
WHAT GOES WELL WITH PERSIMMONS?
One of the lovely things about this fruit is its ability to pair with both sweet and savory ingredients.
For this salad, I stole the idea of pairing the persimmons with prosciutto from that panini because the salty sweet combination is truly wonderful.
It’s pretty much the winter version of pairing melon and prosciutto like in these melon prosciutto mozzarella skewers.
Combined with the tart brightness of cranberries, the creamy goat cheese and slightly bitter crisp greens, the sweetness of the persimmon shines.
It’s a fruit that goes great with meat so if you’re not enjoying persimmons in a salad like this, making a compote to serve over steak or something like pan seared duck breast, is a wonderful way to enjoy them.
WHAT TYPE OF GREENS TO USE IN A PERSIMMON SALAD
I chose frisée, radicchio and baby kale greens for this salad as I love their crispness, color and hint of bitterness paired with the sweet juicy persimmons.
The greens, however, are adaptable to what you have on hand or prefer.
Kale is always a good winter go-to like in this chopped winter kale salad as it’s incredibly cold hardy.
Just a small amount of radicchio is a nice addition for both color (it complements the cranberries and lends a festive touch) and bitterness.
Sprouts, microgreens or shoots could also be added. Grow your own sprouts with this easy tutorial!
SERVING AT A HOLIDAY MEAL
All in all, this salad makes a lovely complement to a festive holiday meal.
If you prefer a simple roast, this balsamic dijon crusted beef tenderloin is a worthy consideration too!
MORE SALADS LIKE THIS TO TRY:
- 6 ounces greens – baby kale, frisée and radicchio
- 1-2 ripe Hachiya persimmons, sliced into wedges
- 1/4 cup cranberries
- 1/8 pound thinly sliced prosciutto
- 1 ounce goat cheese
- 2 tablespoons pecans, toasted
For the dressing
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon raw honey
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
- salt and pepper to taste
- Combine the greens, persimmons and cranberries in a large mixing bowl.
- Whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing in a separate small bowl. Pour over the salad and toss to combine.
- Plate the salad, roll slices of prosciutto and nestle them into the salad. Top with crumbles of goat cheese and toasted pecans.
- Season with coarse salt and fresh pepper before serving.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.