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Salad shouldn't be an obligation or an afterthought -- and it doesn't always have to be kale, either. Every other Thursday, Elizabeth Stark from Brooklyn Supper will help you make salads you actually want to eat.
Today: With fickle persimmons, the moment is right when the moment is right. Act fast and eat them on a seasonal salad.
Persimmons are finicky things, especially out here on the East Coast. Earlier in the year, there was a local crop, but I've only seen evidence of these supposed Virginia persimmons on Instagram. So I wait for them to make their way from California to my grocer's shelves. And then I wait some more.
Persimmons are one of those delicate fruits with the tiniest window of ripeness between edible and mush. Like pears, apricots, or avocados, you've got to watch them closely. And when the magic moment arrives, you've got to strike fast.
This salad makes things easy by teaming persimmons up with simple, seasonal flavors, which means that the rest of this salad will be ready to go whenever your persimmons are. And because I start to get nostalgic for the growing season this time of year, this salad makes the most of delicate greens, like butter lettuce and watercress, while they can still be found. To balance the sweetness of the persimmons and acidity of the vinaigrette, I've recruited the earthy flavors of radish and red onion. The whole thing is pretty wonderful, at home on your dinner table or all dressed up for a holiday affair.
I was only able to track down astringent Hachiya persimmons, which are not even edible until the fruit is quite soft and are not ideally suited to salads. Save yourself some trouble and procure the more forgiving variety, Fuyu persimmons, for this recipe.
For the lemony vinaigrette:
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 pinch sea salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
For the salad:
1/2 medium red onion
5 to 6 radishes
1 small head butter lettuce, leaves torn into bite-sized pieces
1 bunch watercress, stems trimmed
2 ripe persimmons, sliced into half moons
Sea salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
Photos by Elizabeth Stark