Sometimes, I really have to give myself a pat on the back. Cooking is not hard, and throwing together a salad is probably one of the easiest things to do in the kitchen. But putting something up that is green and this banging is rare. It’s one of those recipes that just fits in every single way. It’s very seasonal (all the fresh ingredients are from my garden, except the persimmon, which is from my sister-in-law’s plot), it’s got a complex range of textures (spongy, tensile, crunchy, chewy), it balances contrasting flavours (salty, sweet, sour and earthy) and just looks a picture.
This recipe came on the back of a long weekend at the table, eating and drinking a whole load of things I really shouldn’t in any great quantity. This week, all I’m eating is salad.
I had a lone persimmon in the fruit bowl – something the rest of the family avoid because they just don’t know what the hell to do with it. I had some semi-hard goat milk cheese in the fridge, left over from Friday night’s cheese board (no matter how gourmet they like to think they are, everyone always just eats the Brie). I also now have a fairly well stocked pantry of my favourite Middle Eastern ingredients, thanks to a recent trip to Oasis Bakery (totally not a bakery – will blog about this amazing place soon). There is a swarm of nasturtiums trying to take over my garden, and I’m totally in love with them – I’ve started to put the leaves in nearly every salad I make. So that’s how this baby was born. And it will be again, and again and again.
Persimmon and almond salad
- 1 sweet persimmon*
- 50g lettuce leaves
- 12 nasturtium leaves
- 25g almonds (about 20)
- 30g goats milk cheese (firm and mild is best)
- 1/2 tbsp dried barberries
- 1 tbsp date molasses
- 1 tbsp almond oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste
Arrange the leaves on the plate. Cut the persimmon into wedges and arrange on top. Tear the cheese with your fingers and scatter on top.
Toast the almonds in a dry frypan and then add to the salad.
Loosely chop the barberries to release the flavours then combine with the molasses, almond oil and lemon juice in a jar and shake well. Season to taste, then spoon over the salad, concentrating the dressing over the persimmon wedges.
Feeds one as a main dish or two as a side. Would partner a whole roasted river trout quite nicely, or some smoky pork ribs
* I will post more about persimmons shortly, but just for the moment, be aware there are two types usually found in Australia. Sweet persimmons like the fuyu variety are bright orange and can be eaten when firm and with the peel. Astringent varieties like hachiya are more deeply coloured, need to be peeled, and are best eaten when they are really soft and squishy.