Yes, it is acceptable to have a salad at the holiday table. Especially in California, where we're lucky enough to have year-round produce. In the winter, we get some unusual fruits, perfect for a show-stopping salad. This recipe, which incorporates persimmons, pomegranate, pecans and lemons with the greens, was created by Amelia Saltsman, the author of the Santa Monica Farmers' Market Cookbook. Go ahead, add it to your holiday menu. We promise guests won't complain after the first bite.
Persimmon, Pomegranate, and Pecan Salad
Makes 8 servings
4 ribs celery, preferably inner, whiter ribs with leaves
2 small or 1 large Fuyu persimmon
1/2 cup pecan or walnut pieces, toasted
1/2 pound mixed baby salad greens
About 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or nut oil
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
To remove the pomegranate kernels, make a cut near the blossom end of the fruit, submerge the pomegranate in a bowl of water, and break the fruit into large pieces. Use your fingers to loosen all the kernels, then drain and reserve them. They will keep, refrigerated, for up to 3 days.
Use a vegetable peeler to peel the celery, then slice paper-thin on the diagonal. Place in a salad bowl along with the leaves. Core the persimmon, cut it vertically into quarters, and then crosswise into thin slices. Add to the bowl along with the nuts, greens, and as many pomegranate kernels as you like. Grate the zest from the lemon in long, thin strands into the bowl. Drizzle on the oil, squeeze in some lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. Toss well and serve.
With permission from The Santa Monica Farmers' Market Cookbook: Seasonal Foods, Simple Recipes, and Stories from the Market and Farm by Amelia Saltsman. (Blenheim Press, 2007).
[Photo courtesy Carol Cotner Thompson]
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