Here’s the anti-Waldorf of autumn salads. I serve it every Thanksgiving because its colors and bright flavors make this the perfect refresher to rich holiday foods.
Persimmons possess all the sweet and spicy notes we love about this season. Use the flat Fuyu type, which are eaten firm, rather than the oblong Hachiya type, which must be jam-ripe. When sliced, a Fuyu persimmon’s seed markings create a pretty sand-dollar design. Next week, I’ll show you the cuts to achieve the look.
If you’ve hesitated to seed your own pomegranate ’til now, here’s my tutorial that avoids staining the counter red.
Entertaining secrets: You can seed the pom, peel and slice the celery, toast the nuts, and wash the salad greens ahead and store each item separately. Only the persimmons need to be sliced just before serving. Then it’s a quick toss of all the ingredients right in your prettiest salad bowl.
Persimmon, Pomegranate, and Pecan Salad
Makes 8 servings
4 ribs celery, preferably inner whiter ribs with leaves
2 small or 1 large Fuyu persimmon
1/2 cup pecan or walnut pieces, toasted
1/2 pound mixed baby salad greens
About 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or nut oil
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
To remove the pomegranate kernels, make a cut near the blossom end of the fruit, submerge the pomegranate in a bowl of water, and break the fruit into large pieces. Use your fingers to loosen all the kernels, then drain and reserve them. They will keep refrigerated for up to 3 days.
Use a vegetable peeler to peel the celery, then slice paper-thin on the diagonal. Place in a salad bowl along with the leaves. Core the persimmon, cut it vertically into quarters, and then crosswise into thin slices. Add to the bowl along with the nuts, greens, and as many pomegranate kernels as you like. Grate the zest from the lemon in long, thin strands into the bowl. Drizzle on the oil, squeeze in some lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. Toss well and serve.