The bright flavors of this beautiful salad make a refreshing counterpoint to rich holiday foods. The Fuyu persimmon is the one to use here, for its sweet spiciness.
Make Ahead: Pomegranate seeds can be extracted from the fruit and refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Prep the celery 1 day ahead and refrigerate in a resealable plastic food storage bag. Pecans can be toasted and cooled earlier in the day. The salad greens can be washed and dried, then refrigerated in a salad greens bag or damp towel for up to 2 days. Compose the salad just before serving.
- 1 large pomegranate
- 4 ribs celery, preferably inner white ribs, with leaves
- 2 small Fuyu persimmons (or 1 large)
- 1/2 cup pecan pieces, toasted (see NOTE)
- 8 ounces mixed baby salad greens, washed and spun dry
- 1 large lemon, zest grated in long tendrils (with a zester or vegetable peeler)
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (optional)
To remove the pomegranate seeds, make a cut near the blossom end of the fruit, submerge the pomegranate in a bowl of water and pull the fruit apart with your fingers. The seeds will sink to the bottom of the bowl. Discard the fruit; drain the seeds and set aside; there should be about 1/2 cup.
Use a mandoline or a V-slicer to cut the peeled celery on the diagonal into paper-thin slices, then transfer to a large salad bowl along with any of the celery leaves. Core the persimmons, cut them vertically into quarters and then crosswise into 1/4-inch slices; add them to the bowl, along with the toasted pecans, salad greens, reserved pomegranate seeds and strands of lemon zest. Drizzle in the oil, squeeze in some lemon juice to taste and season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss to combine and sprinkle with cheese to taste, if desired. Serve immediately.
Adapted from "The Santa Monica Farmers' Market Cookbook," by Amelia Saltsman (Blenheim, 2007).
Tested by Adrienne Cook.
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