Most of my childhood food memories are good ones. I remember the first dish I ever made on my own: chicken simmered in wine and seasoned salt. I remember my mom taking me for sushi lunch on the day before my Bat Mitzah. And I remember making a gingerbread house that required a late-night bicycle run to get marshmallow fluff.
And there were a few bad ones… mostly involving foods which had that astringent aftertaste reminiscent of overly tannic wines (though growing up I couldn’t have defined that). Pecans were the first, and I later discovered I was allergic anyways, and the other was persimmons. Those sweet, creamy winter fruits can be lusciously rich. But if they’re under-ripe they can make you pucker like you’ve been sucking on lemons.
I don’t scare easily, but I’ve shied away from them ever since… they can be expensive and didn’t want to open the persimmon only to discover it was astringently under ripe. When I was at the market last week, a little bird whispered in my ear, reminding me that Fuyu persimmons don’t have that problem and I decided to give them another whirl.
When I got home, I tentatively cut it open and gingerly nibbled at the meat. The flavor was somewhat cloying but no sign of tannins. It was tasty, but didn’t feel like a snacking fruit. Maybe it was just too sweet for me? It needed something to balance it.
As luck would have it, I had a perfectly ripe avocado at the same time. A quick Google search revealed that the two would pair beautifully along with a little miso, ginger and lemon. And into the kitchen I went to prepare dinner.
This was a quick and delicious dinner. But it requires careful planning to have a ripe avocado *and* a ripe persimmon at the same time. If you can do it, it’s well worth it!
Fuyu Persimmon and Avocado Salad with Roast Chicken
I served this on a bed of wilted spinach.
2 chicken breasts
1 ½ tbs. miso
1 tbs. chopped ginger
1 tsp. chopped garlic
¼ tsp. chili flakes
1 tsp. canola oil
Salt and pepper
1. Mix miso, ginger, garlic, chili and oil.
2. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Schmear miso all over chicken and let marinate for 20 minutes or more.
3. Bake chicken in a 350 oven for 20 minutes, flipping once after 10 minutes of cooking. While chcicken is cooking, prepare the salad
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons miso paste
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup olive oil
1 ripe avocado
1 ripe Fuyu persimmons, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
Whisk together lemon juice, miso, and olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. This dressing should be a bit more acidic than you typically prefer as it will soften with the avocado and persimmon.
Halve, pit, and peel avocados, then thinly slice crosswise. Gently toss together avocados, persimmons, and dressing.
Serve salad with chicken.