Spinach and Persimmon Salad with Citrus Dressing combines a sweet fuyu persimmon and strawberries with salty feta cheese and pistachios in a spinach salad lightly dressed with a citrus marmalade-based dressing.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!
~~ Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
Christmas is but a few days away… Our Christmas ducks are beginning to thaw, the saffron, pomegranate molasses, za’atar, etc. survived the miles at 35,000 feet between Harlingen and Charlotte, and I’m ready with a recipe to complete my lovely Persian-inspired menu! Spinach and Persimmon Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette combines sweet persimmons and strawberries with salty feta cheese and pistachios in a spinach salad lightly dressed with a citrus marmalade-based dressing. The flavors complement my Za’atar and Pomegranate Molasses Roasted Duck and Zereshk and Pistachio Pilaf beautifully. This menu is elegant, a bit exotic, healthy, and surprisingly simple to put together.
This luscious and colorful salad is my variation of My Food Story’s Greens, Persimmon Ricotta Salad with Orange Dressing. When Richa posted the recipe on Facebook, I knew I had to give it a try. Earlier that same week, I’d seen beautiful persimmons in my local HEB market. McAllen, Texas (with its sub-tropical climate) has an amazing variety of fresh produce year ’round. The strawberries were gorgeous. I opted to use feta in place of the ricotta, and pistachios in place of the pecans or walnuts.
I typically approach salad-making in this fashion. I look at the overall composition of the menu, the other ingredients, and customize my salad to complement the main dish and other side dishes. Feta and pistachios just “fit” with the other flavors in this menu. The optional pomegranate arils are a perfect addition, and provide an additional pop of color that is so appealing. 🙂 Pomegranates are a bit of work to break down, and can be difficult to find (even in winter), which is why the arils are listed “optional.” I also used them to garnish the duck. I have occasionally seen pomegranate arils in vacuum sealed bags in supermarkets. They are something of a key ingredient in Persian cuisine, and if you’ve not tried them, you ought to.
With these 3 posts, I’ve sought to convey my approach to planning a holiday menu: Za’atar and Pomegranate Molasses Roasted Duck, Zereshk and Pistachio Pilaf, and Spinach and Persimmon Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette. This year, I knew I wanted to do roasted duck – due to the intimate (ie. small) nature of our gathering. Duck and fruit are a perfect pairing, and fruit is key in Persian cooking. That was my jumping off point. I have to say planning and cooking Christmas dinner is probably my favorite part of Christmas. Bringing loved ones together around the table feeds my soul as well as my physical body. I would love to hear what you have planned for those special holiday meals this year! I would also enjoy knowing what experience you’ve had with Persian food and ingredients, and whether or not you would try these dishes…
The next few days will find me either in the kitchen or chasing a very busy toddler. Being a grandparent is a gift, and I plan to enjoy every minute I can with little Cade. I will get back to the blog when I return to McAllen this weekend! Blessings to you this Christmas, and a very Happy New Year!
Spinach and Persimmon Salad with Citrus Dressing
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons white vermouth vinegar*
- 1 tablespoon bitter orange marmalade*
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- sea salt/fresh ground pepper
- 6 cups baby spinach*
- 1 cup strawberries stems removed and quartered
- 2 fuyu persimmons* stem removed, sliced in half top to bottom, thin sliced
- 1/4 cup pistachios coarsely chopped
- 2 ounces feta cheese crumbled
- 1.4 cup pomegranate arils optional
- * See Notes
Combine salad dressing ingredients in a blender. Pulse until smooth and emulsified.
In a salad bowl, combine spinach, strawberries, and persimmon slices. Sprinkle with pistachios, feta, and pomegranate arils (if using).
Drizzle with salad dressing and toss just before serving.
For more on Persimmons...
Use a good quality light vinegar - champagne, rice, white wine, citrus vinegars are good substitutes for the white vermouth vinegar.
Bitter orange marmalade is the perfect counterpoint to the sweet fruit in this salad, but you can substitute any marmalade.
I very lightly dress salads. If you want to serve the dressing separately, or want the salad more heavily dressed, scale up the recipe accordingly.
Use your favorite greens. I like spinach, but I have also used a baby greens blend that was really nice.
My market had beautiful hachiya persimmons. They are an astringent variety, and must be ripe, or they will leave a very unpleasant sensation in your mouth. When ripe, they are very sweet and delicious. This recipe calls for fuyu persimmons.
Macronutrients (approximation from MyFitnessPal.com): 297 calories; 4 g protein; 44 g carbohydrates; 14 g fat.