Persimmon to Land
Personally, I like eating fresh mangoes and tomatoes and kiwis every day of the year, but the latest trend is all about the local, seasonal thing (global warming is so hot right now). Despite my aversion to not being able to have everything I want, when I want it, I have to say it is exciting to roll up to the farmers market and see a fruit I ain’t never seen all year. This week’s discovery: beautiful golden persimmons.
I had no idea what to make with these pretty little things, but they were three for a dollar so I picked up a trio. I got home and started to google, discovering right off the bat that there are two distinctively different types of persimmons.
One type, Hachiya persimmons, are acorn shaped and apparently cause an awful astringent taste if they are bitten at any point before they are perfectly ripe. I am actually a little intrigued to taste this sensation because the blogosphere hates on it with a vehemence usually reserved for Bush and Britney.
Upon further inspection I realized that the persimmons I bought were Fuyu persimmons, which have a rounder shape, don’t cause the nasty astringent taste at all, and can be eaten while still firm. (My farmers market called them Fuji, but they appear to be similar, if not the same, as Fuyu).
After cutting one open and finding it sweet and delicious, though not particularly strong, I decided to mess around and see what could be made out of a persimmon. My adventures, detailed after the jump, are attempts to incorporate this mysterious ingredient into some of my favorite foods. In case you don’t know me well enough yet, that means there’s some olive oil, alcohol, and of course, cheese.
Note: all of the following recipes involve peeling, coring, and slicing the persimmon first.
There are a lot of recipes online for persimmon salsa, so I figured this was a good starting-off point.
Not having all the ingredients for salsa on hand, I just chopped up some persimmons and added them to Santa Barbara salsa.
The verdict: pretty great. The mild sweetness works well with the spiciness. If you’re down with mango salsa, you’ll love persimmon salsa.
The grade for Persimmon Salsa: 4 persimmons, out of a possible 5.
Next up, I had the crazy idea to add persimmons to one of my stand-by lunches, grilled cheese. I think I had the idea because of the Fuji name. Temperance Hall, a bar and grill by my old crib in D.C., serves an amazing grilled fontina cheese and Fuji apple sandwich, so I think that’s what made me think of it. So I sliced up a half of a persimmon, and grilled it on a sandwich with some sharp cheddar cheese.
The verdict: Mixed. The flavors worked well together (and it pairs beautifully with persimmon salsa, if you happen to have some on hand), but the texture was a little old, because the persimmons didn’t melt much at all. I have to admit this was really for the novelty. Damn tasty, but I’m honestly not sure that I would make it again.
I’ll award the grilled persimmons-n-cheese two persimmons.
Now I was curious to see what the persimmon would taste like cooked. I thought of the smothering method, because I remembered how much it brought out the natural sweetness in the squash that I smothered. So I tried the same thing with persimmons. Here’s what I did:
Slice 1 persimmon very thinly.
Sprinkle each side of the slices with ground nutmeg.
Saute the slices in olive oil, on high heat for three minutes per side.
Add 1/4 cup water to the pan, let it simmer for a minute, then cover and let them steam for five minutes.
It worked! I had juicy, warm, fragrant persimmons. These would be great on pork chops, instead of apples.
The grade for Smothered Persimmons: A full five persimmons.
Well, I had one ripening persimmon left, so I decided to fool around with some drinkin’ and invented a cocktail. I give you, the Persimmony Snicket:
Put 1 sliced persimmon and four ice cubes in a food processor or blender.
Add one part Sprite and 2 parts Bacardi silver. Blend.
Garnish, obv. with persimmons.
The verdict: Eh. I mean, I wouldn’t order one in a bar (although I absolutely dare you to.) The Persimmony Snicket still gets one persimmon, because come on, it has rum in it.