I dislike change; always have. Typically, I tend to stay miserable in the static present than venture into the [gloriously] ominous future. These days, I desperately long for the frigid winter cold, mostly so I may hide under an oversized down coat without having to pay much heed to my outfit underneath. Pathetic, I know, but aside from the fashion-based benefits of winter, I also can’t yet seem to bid adieu to the food of the season. Roasted, slow cooked, braised, stewed heavy meats, root vegetables, winter squashes, and citrus galore!
Yes, I am fully aware of how awesome and bountiful the food of the months to come are! Already, there are the the bunches of asparagus that stand bright green and tightly wound up top, stalks of ruby red rhubarb the korean ahjummas (ladies) curiously stare at and in unison conclude, “Ahhhhh, red celery.”, and even the simple promise of summer figs, strawberries, nectarines, and korean melons make me quiver, weak at the knees.
But ultimately, the imported (aka: tasteless) produce available year round, such as the tomatoes of Mexico, just don’t excite me. I miss you, persimmon, most of all. Tell me, where can I find a fresh persimmon in July? Pomegranates, I’ve seen, but never a persimmon, those tight orange balls of happiness. And kkotgam (dried persimmons), though damn good–especially when halved horizontally and rolled w/ salted pecans, walnuts, or pine nuts then served diced alongside or in sujeonggwa (chilled cinnamon and ginger tea)–,could never assuage the sharp pain of deprival my heart feels 9-10 months of the year.
Luckily, after weeks of foraging through the wilderness of Han-Yang and Han Ah Reum (it’s a rough scene: seemingly feeble ajummas on a mission with Prada and Chanel in tote post-church-going; deathly terrifying.), hunting and gathering the most hard-as-rocks persimmons, I have 1 box left. A single box worth of decadent yet sprightly tarts and pies, and a glorious salad that perfectly highlights the balance between the sweet fruit and the earthy ginger and maple syrup! But this too shall pass. It always does.
Thank God bacon is available fresh all year long.
Persimmon Salad w/ Ginger Maple Vinaigrette
Tab of Butter
1 tbsp Ginger Minced
1 tbsp Shallot Diced
1/2 tbsp Maple Syrup
1 tbsp Apple Vinegar
Lemon Juice and Zest
3 Firm Fuyu Persimmon (chilled)
Mixed Greens (Bitter greens compliment the sweetness of the fruit well)
Salt and Pepper
In a pan, heat ginger in butter until soft and mellow. Macerate shallots in lemon juice, vinegar, and salt+pepper for a few minutes (~10-20). Transfer ginger into shallot mixture. Add olive oil, maple syrup, and whisk together. Toss greens with vinaigrette. On a serving plate, top a bed of greens with bite size chunks of peeled persimmon. Zest a lemon over salad for added flavor.
I sometimes don’t bother to add the vinegar (use extra lemon in its place) and/or maple syrup because the fruit is so sweet as it is. Let your palette guide you.
Also, the parmesan cups shown in the pictures above are incredibly simple to make. On a baking sheet, flatten 1/4 cup mounds of good quality grated parmesan cheese that’s been mixed w/ ground black pepper. Toss into a preheated oven (325 degs) for a few minutes. Remove from the oven and quickly mold each disc into a muffin tin. Don’t worry if the cups crack! Allow the cups to cool before removing and “stuffing” them. These cups also work very well w/ risotto …and basically anything else you want to serve in individual serving vessels!
Though persimmon season may be long gone, the vinaigrette and parm-cups are relevant throughout the year. Let’s just consider this a preview of winter 09!