Easy Persimmon Appetizer (recipe)
Persimmons are one of those out-of-the-ordinary fruits that pop up in grocery stores this time of year, but usually get overlooked by those of us in the bananas-apples-oranges crowd. It’s like telling your spouse, “Hey, would you pick up some milk, bread, and star fruit on your way home from work?” Persimmons aren’t really on the radar. I have always been intrigued by these glossy bright fruits, though, and the holidays are the perfect time to let them shine.
My sister served this beautiful persimmon salad last year during the holidays, and I was hooked. While they look like orange tomatoes, persimmons taste like a cross between pears and dates. They are sweet and firm; you can eat them like an apple or serve them in slices or wedges. As they ripen (2-3 weeks at room temperature), persimmons sweeten and turn an even brighter shade of orange. When fully ripe, the fruit will feel just barely soft when squeezed gently.
There are two main varieties of persimmons: Hachiya and Fuyu.
Fuyus, those squatty pumpkin-orange guys, are the most common grocery store variety, as they are more firm and non-astringent (the presence of tannins that gives your mouth a dry, sandpapery feel).
The astringent variety, Hachiya, will make your mouth pucker unless absolutely ripe. Many recipes will advise peeling persimmons, as the skin has some tannins that can make the fruit taste slightly bitter. With a really ripe Fuyu, I didn’t bother peeling them. I liked the added texture of the skins and didn’t notice a bitter taste.
Fuyu persimmons are available at WinCo right now for 98¢ each, but the best deal is found at Costco for $6.49 for 3 pounds. Jump on these soon, as the persimmon season is short and sweet.
Appetizers are a beautiful invention. I would eat them for every meal, if possible. Small plates with little bites of fun food? Sounds like my idea of a good time. This recipe is simple and delicious. Other than slicing the persimmons and cheese, you are just scattering ingredients over the top. The fresh flavors are bright and happy, fun to look at and better to eat.
This is actually one of those fake recipes, with just a smattering of ingredients that can be swapped out to your heart’s content. Because of this, I simply listed ingredients without amounts. For the nuts, you could use pistachios, almonds, or cashews. I used Chevre (goat cheese) with honey the first time around, but it’s actually a bit too sweet with ripe persimmons. Regular Chevre, Homemade Ricotta, or salty Parmesan would be perfect. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and chopped parsley for a festive red-and-green vibe and you are done.
Serve it as a salad with some crusty bread or place on a platter for a beautiful appetizer (you could cut the persimmon rounds into wedges for a smaller option). Either way, this is a unique, fresh flavor combination, perfect for those holiday parties or blah winter days.
Easy Persimmon Appetizer
inspired by this Food52 salad
Ripe Fuyu persimmons
Parmesan, Chevre, or Homemade Ricotta cheese
Nuts, roughly chopped (pistachios, almonds, cashews)
- Using a serrated knife, thinly slice the persimmons into 1/4″ rounds. Place on a serving platter.
- Top the persimmon slices with scoops of Chevre or Ricotta or shavings of Parmesan cheese.
- Sprinkle with nuts, seeds, and chopped parsley. Drizzle lightly with olive oil.
- Serve as rounds or cut into quarters.
I love this simple Sur La Table platter set (Amazon). This is a good price for 3 different sizes. The clean lines and white backdrop are perfect for recipes like this, that are already popping with bright colors and different textures.
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