Last week my boss brought two enormous crates of persimmons to work to share with everybody. Each time I walked by the kitchen I grabbed a handful, and soon ended up with more persimmons than I knew what to deal with! Recalling warm summer evenings and the beauty of grilled stone fruit, I decided to throw a persimmon on the grill just to see what happened. I daresay I now prefer grilled persimmons to raw. Paired with crispy, salty prosciutto and a punchy pesto vinaigrette, this salad is the perfect side dish to pair with a hearty stew or braise. —Ben York
Stale bread, torn into small pieces
Slightly underripe persimmons, cut into wedges or circles 1/4-inch thick
heirloom tomato, cut into wedges
Sliced prosciutto, torn into medium sized pieces
Baby salad greens (I used a mixture of kale, chard, and spinach)
On a small rimmed baking sheet, toss torn bread pieces with 3tbps Extra Virgin Olive Oil, salt, and pepper until pieces are thoroughly oiled and seasoned.
Toast bread for 12 minutes or until slightly golden and a bit crunchy.
While bread is toasting, make the pesto. Combine basil, pine nuts, garlic, and salt in food processor and pulse to combine. Add the parmesan, turn processor on, and stream in 1/4 Extra Virgin Olive Oil slowly until pesto comes together to desired consistency (it's okay if it's a bit thick at this point). Store pesto in the fridge while you continue preparing salad.
Add 2tbsp oil into dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot or skillet. Tear prosciutto slices and place in cold skillet. Turn heat to medium-low and cook prosciutto for 10-15 minutes until fat is rendered and pieces are crispy, turning occasionally. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to drain.
Toss persimmon slices or wedges in 2tbsp olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on grill over medium heat and grill 4 minutes each side or until pieces have nice grill marks and have begun to soften slightly
To make pesto vinaigrette: transfer pesto into small bowl and add the juice of the whole lemon. Add remaining 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 1tbsp honey, and whisk to combine. Thin mixture out with water until it reaches desired vinaigrette consistency
Assemble salad: Place salad greens on a large platter. Scatter croutons, tomato wedges, and persimmon wedges over the greens. Sprinkle prosciutto slices in between the fruit, then drizzle pesto vinaigrette over the top.