Growing up, we had a gorgeous persimmon tree in our backyard. It was a striking thing in fall, all those bright orange fruits hanging from spindly, nearly leafless branches. My mother would line persimmons from the tree along the window sill to let them soften until ripe. Try as I might, I could never get past their mushy, baby-food texture. That, of course, was not the fault of my mother – it was because we had the variety of persimmon that is not ripe for eating until the flesh is super soft. Then I discovered the Fuyu persimmon. They are firm when ripe and have a great, apple-like crunch to them. There is a lovely, subtly spicy quality to the fruit, vaguely like cinnamon, and because it is so sweet, it does really well when partnered with salty, savory or bitter flavors. This salad’s got that in spades.
For this recipe, I marinated the kale in lemon juice beforehand to soften the leaves – they retain a lot of that nice, chewy, raw quality but the lemon juice does a great job of tempering that just enough to make it more tender in its uncooked state. It’s not a necessary step if you’re short on time, but I think the salad really improves when prepped this way.
KALE AND PERSIMMON SALAD
For the salad:
5-6 cups shredded kale, loosely packed
1 large Fuyu persimmon, thinly sliced
1 cup chopped, roasted walnuts
1/2 cup gorgonzola or blue cheese
juice of 1/2 lemon
For the dressing:
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
Mix the kale with the juice of half a lemon and leave to marinate in the fridge for about an hour. (You can omit this step if pressed for time, but it won’t be as good!)
Meanwhile, prep the dressing by whisking the olive oil into the yogurt. Then, blend in the juice of the other lemon half, garlic, Worcestershire sauce and mustard. Season to your liking with salt and pepper and set aside.
Crumble the cheese, slice the persimmons and chop the walnuts if this hasn’t been done. Gently toss the persimmons and walnuts with the kale. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss. Top the salad with the gorgonzola or blue cheese. It’s possible that you may have a little dressing leftover – refrigerate for future use.
This is best enjoyed soon after making!