Child’s Play: A Salad Story

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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 . . .

child's-play‘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.

Persimmon and Pomegranate Salad with Pecan Crusted Goat Cheese

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.

Serves 4

  • Anne-Liesse

    Love it ! Love that those pomegranate seeds that you told us about in several tweets turned out to be such an inspiration. Love a poem that is about food and cooking – there should be more. I might try one some time !… (I did write a kinda poem on my blog about our “cabanon” last August – whatever inspires you…)

    Save that poem preciously for Noe when she’s older. She will surely enjoy it.

    I’ve been baking with Antoine lately and it’s been fun and joyful as well… when not trying !

    Love & bisous

  • crankycheryl

    I can’t believe I haven’t yet given my budding chefs a pomegranate to dismantle. Your post made me remember being in my parents’ kitchen with my fingers in the intricate web of seeds and pith. Must go buy one tomorrow and have at it.

  • Jacqueline Church

    I love this! You know one of my favorite pics is of me and Doc’s niece making salad together. It’s a great way to give a toddler actual cooking tasks to help with. Funny, the work dinner we’re hosting tomorrow night will include a salad with pomegranate and my favorite Cara Cara orange sections. I love the color and flavor combo, too!

  • Lia Huber

    AL . . . Antoine has a great baking teacher in you! I still remember when you taught me how to make tart dough at our apartment in San Francisco. I’ll have to ask you to refresh my memory!

    Cheryl . . . I’m so glad this reminded you! I grew up in Illinois and had no idea what pomegranates were. My one Greek friend used to bring them for lunch every once in a while and they were absolute magic to me. And then, years later, when I lived in Greece, I remember feeling like I’d found paradise when I came across a whole TREE of them!

    Jackie . . . Isn’t it gorgeous? I like the orange version too (especially with slivered red onion and fennel), but it’s fun to use persimmons when they’re in season too. Have a great dinner!