It’s 5 o’clock, and you’re leaving the office in search of some post-work libations and snacks before dinner. You could go the traditional happy hour route — where you’re limited to a few drinks and small bites within a short window of time — or you could up the ante and visit a Japanese izakaya.
For some reason, sometime around September, I stop eating salads. I have it in my head that they are a summer thing. Why? I do not know. So I promised myself, that this year, I would enjoy salads throughout the year. Here is my first one–I’m a little late. But that is okay, this roasted persimmon salad is worth waiting for!
Most of us are familiar with two kinds of persimmon: the apple-sized, crunchy Fuyu and the bulbous Hachiya, best enjoyed when it’s so ripe, it’s gooey. I’m going to go out on a limb here and argue there’s an even BETTER persimmon, the Maru, or chocolate persimmon.
If you think these fuyu persimmons seem to be looking wide-eyed off into space, you’re wrong. They’re looking into the future– namely, theirs.
Shortly after this photo was taken, they were mercilessly vivisected and consumed by me, the author of this post.
I shall be doing the same to their brethren soon on that greatest of all American days of sharing and feasting– Thanksgiving. I like to think of this as a small step in personal growth. For me, not for the persimmons.
As I mentioned in my Fuyu persimmon post last year, Fuyus should not be confused with Hachiya persimmons. Unlike the naturally astringent Hachiya, which needs to be so ripe it should look like a bag full of goop by the time you can eat it, Fuyus are sweet and firm when they’re ready. With Fuyus, you can just peel and eat. They’re amazing served fresh in salads or cooked in couscous and tarts. My favorite new fall dessert, however, is a Fuyu and Date Upside-Down Cake.
About a month ago, I wrote about Fuyu persimmons, which are one of my favorite fall fruits. This week, I’d like to extol the virtues of the Hachiya persimmon. Hachiyas are the misunderstood fruit of winter: although they are sweet and wonderful when baked into cakes and puddings, many people are afraid to eat them because they are truly awful when immature. A firm Hachiya is extraordinarily astringent and inedible. I admit that taking a bite out of one is sort of like eating an unripe bitter walnut while suddenly having all the moisture sucked out of your cheeks and tongue. But there’s a very simple way to avoid this: don’t eat Hachiyas until they’re ripe.
Many people seem a bit confused by persimmons. Do you cook them or eat them raw? Are they bitter or sweet? How do you eat them? It seems that whenever I buy some, either the person next to me in line or the cashier quizzically looks over and asks what I’ll do with them. Everyone seems to have heard a story about some brave soul who tried one and was rewarded with a mouthful of astringent yuckiness.