Thursday, November 14, 2013

Spinach, Persimmon & Avocado Salad with Lime Miso Dressing

I snagged a bunch of fuyu persimmons from the market yesterday with absolutely no idea what to do with them. I thought I was going to make some sort of baked thing with them, but it seems that the softer, pulpier Hayicha persimmon is more suited to that particular endeavor. My google search for persimmon recipes led me to this recipe for Spinach, Jicama and Avocado Salad with Miso Dressing. It was the best place to start as I'd also managed to snag some avocados and I've been meaning to try Jicama.
Until a few weeks ago, I'd never eaten a persimmon. From the moment the first Fuyu's arrived in the market and I was fascinated by it's perfection, from its gorgeous orange color and the cute little leafy cap, I wanted to take it home and draw it. I was surprised by how sweet they were. I was surprised that they were sweet at all. For some reason I expected persimmons to be more vegetal, like a tomato.
This morning I set out with a short list of ingredients I needed to compose the afore mentioned salad but alas could not find any jicama, even at my local Latino produce market. I decided to go with celery root instead.

6 ounces baby spinach
1/4 of a large celery root cut into matchsticks
1 avocado cut into cubes
2 persimmons, peeled and cut into cubes
pomegranate seeds
lime zest
Parmigiano Reggiano, shaved

Miso Dressing
4 teaspoons lime juice
4 teaspoons water
1 1/2 tablespoons shiro miso
1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons olive oil

My new way of preparing salads is a method I learned from my cooking classes at 18 Reasons~layering. I used to toss everything together in my big stainless steel bowl thinking that I wanted every component evenly distributed and coated with dressing. I've since learned better.
Here, the ingredients get layered onto a plate in two layers and the dressing gets drizzled on within the layers as well (unless you have an ingredient or two that could use a little tenderizing prior to  assembly).
I poured about 2 tablespoons of dressing into a large tossing bowl and stirred around the match sticks of celery root and let them sit a few minutes (not really necessary because I like the crunch of the celery root) then I tossed in the spinach to get the leaves a little coated. I commenced to building the salad by layering down half of the spinach & celery root first, then 1/2 of the persimmons, avocado, a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds, a drizzle of dressing and finally some shaved Parmiggiano Reggiano (I used Cotija on a another version). Repeat the layering.
Not only does a layered salad look gorgeous, but each bite tastes different so your palate is never bored. 

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