Saturday, October 11, 2014

Persimmon and Pomegranate Salad with Arugula and Hazelnuts

Fall has never been my favourite time of year. I know some people relish the cooling weather and changing leaves, but for me it signals the end of summer, beginning of winter, and end of most of my favourite produce. Of course, San Francisco lacks a real winter and our produce options are better than most year-round, so I'm trying to learn to embrace the change. Produce-wise, fall here means that raspberries, strawberries, and figs are replaced with persimmons and pomegranates. I had never really had persimmons before moving here and pomegranates always seemed exotic, but here the markets overflow with them in early October. The persimmons somewhat remind me of apples, so if you can't find them, I think you could get away with those as a substitute. I was completely surprised by how much I loved this salad. Crunchy, tangy, and just a little bit of sweet. It also reminded me of how much I love hazelnuts.

One year ago: Turkey and Sweet Corn Meatballs with Roasted Pepper Sauce
Two years ago: Aromatic Green Beans with Pounded Garlic and Cardamom
Three years ago: Lamb Stir-Fry
Four years ago: Apple and Cheddar Scones
Five years ago: Mexican Rice

Persimmon and Pomegranate Salad with Arugula and Hazelnuts (from Sunday Suppers at Lucques)

2/3 cup hazelnuts
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp hazelnut oil, divided
1 tbsp finely diced shallot
2 small shallots, thinly sliced
3 tbsp fresh pomegranate juice (if you have pomegranate molasses on hand, you can cheat and use a bit of that watered down)
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
2 tsp rice vinegar
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 small Fuyu persimmons, thinly sliced
1/2 lemon, for juicing
1/2 lb arugula

1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. Spread hazelnuts on baking sheet and toast 8 - 10 minutes, stirring once or twice. Let cool, coarsely chop, and toss with 1 tsp hazelnut oil and a pinch of salt.
3. Place diced shallot, pomegranate juice, both vinegars, and 1/2 tsp salt in bowl. Let sit five minutes.
4. Whisk in olive oil and remaining 1 tbsp oil to pomegranate mixture.
5. In a large salad bowl, toss persimmons, sliced shallots, and pomegranate seeds with the dressing. Season with salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon.
6. Toss in arugula, scatter hazelnuts on top, and serve.

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