The seeds for this piece were planted when, on a trying evening, I recruited my daughter to help me make a “special” salad and pouts and whines (from both of us) turned to laughter and pensive smiles. Here’s a poem inspired by the spirit of that night . . .
‘Twas a night before Christmas and all through the day, visions of pomegranates and persimmons had played.
I thought to myself, “What a lovely salad this would be,” and was pretty darned sure my husband would agree.
When what to my weary knees should appear, but a wailing toddler in full princess gear.
“My shoes don’t fit, my nose it runs, and I don’t like the look of this one!”
Up to her stool I whisked her, inspired. I gathered my fruits. “Will you help me?” I inquired.
I filled a bowl with water and placed it before her. Then ripped open a pomegranate and gave her a quarter.
“You see?” I teased out the garnet seeds. “They’re beautiful,” I said, and my daughter agreed.
She splashed joyfully and, with surprising speed, managed to get out every last little seed.
By this time, both of our spirits were soaring and suddenly this salad was anything but boring.
A handful of pecans onto parchment I spread, and taught Noemi to crush them without hitting her head.
She patted and shaped each cheese disc just right, while I dressed the greens and the persimmons did slice.
We assembled the salad and then took our places, and I noticed with joy smiles on everyone’s faces.
Our plates were full, our hearts were light. A delicious meal for all, and for all a good night.
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Persimmon & Pomegranate Salad with Pecan-Coated Goat Cheese
This colorful fall salad pairs two fall treasures: the persimmon and the pomegranate. If you have wee ones, put them to work seeding the pomegranate. Fill a deep bowl with water, cut the pomegranate in half, and show them how to keep their hands below water while they work. The seeds will drop to the bottom and the peel will float to the top, and you’ll have a neat and happy helper come mealtime.
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1/4 cup Champagne vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses or honey
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
12 pecan halves, toasted
4 ounces soft, young goat cheese
6 cups salad greens
1 fuyu persimmon, sliced in half and then into thin wedges
1 pomegranate, seeds removed and reserved
Preheat oven or toaster oven to 350 degrees F.
Shake together shallot, vinegar, olive oil, molasses, salt and pepper in a tight-sealing jar. Set aside.
Place the pecans in a zip-top plastic bag and gently crush with a rolling pin until they’re the texture of coarse sand. Cut the goat cheese into 8 pieces and shape each into a fat disc. Press into the pecans to coat on both sides and place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes.
Toss together greens and persimmons in a salad bowl. Give the dressing one more shake and pour it over the top. Toss to mix and portion out onto 4 salad plates. Top each serving with 2 slices goat cheese rounds and sprinkle evenly with pomegranate seeds.