Persimmon Salad with Sesame Vinaigrette
Adapted from "New American Table" by Marcus Samuelsson
Admittedly, there are a lot of ingredients in this recipe, but it comes together quickly and the outcome is a harmonious and tasty salad from Chef Marcus Samuelsson. The dressing is mixed in a blender, and then the persimmons, tomatoes, and onion marinate in it for a brief time. Meanwhile, flat rice flakes are shallow-fried until puffy and crispy. The final assembly of the salad is a composed layering of the persimmon mixture, greens, and herbs with a final sprinkling of the puffed rice flakes for crunch.
What to buy: We used Fuyu persimmons in this recipe, which are crunchy and flat-bottomed. Do not confuse them with Hachiya persimmons, which have an elongated shape and are astringent if not completely ripened and soft.
Miso is a Japanese culinary staple made by fermenting rice, barley, or, most commonly, soy. The two main types are white (or shiro) miso, which has a sweet, mild flavor, and red (or aka) miso, which is aged and has a salty, umami flavor. You can find miso paste refrigerated at most grocery stores.
Togarashi powder, a Japanese mixture of spices that always contains chiles, can be found in ethnic markets. (It may also be labeled shichimi togarashi.) Or you can make your own.
Rice flakes—rice that is either white or dyed green and then parboiled, rolled flat, and dried—puff up and turn crispy when fried. They’re available at Asian grocery stores, but if you can’t find them, skip the frying and just sprinkle the salad with plain puffed rice instead.
For the dressing:
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 medium garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (from about 2 medium limes)
- 2 tablespoons mirin
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon white miso
- 1 anchovy fillet
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
- 1 red Thai chile, seeds and ribs removed and finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon togarashi
For the salad:
- 2 pounds Fuyu persimmons, peeled and cut into 1-inch wedges
- 4 medium Roma tomatoes (about 1 pound), cored and cut into 1-inch wedges
- 1/2 medium red onion, very thinly sliced
- 2 cups vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup rice flakes
- Kosher salt
- 2 cups frisée leaves (from about 1 bunch)
- 2 cups watercress, tough stems removed (from about 1 bunch)
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
For the dressing:
- 1Heat the sesame oil in a small frying pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Scrape the oil and the garlic into a blender.
- 2Add the olive oil, lime juice, mirin, soy sauce, miso, anchovy, and sugar and blend until smooth. Remove to a small bowl, add the sesame seeds, chile, and togarashi, and stir to combine; set aside.
For the salad:
- 1Place the persimmons, tomatoes, and onion in a large, nonreactive bowl, add 1/2 cup of the dressing, and toss gently to coat; set aside. Meanwhile, fry the rice flakes.
- 2Heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until a rice flake dropped into it puffs immediately, about 8 minutes. Meanwhile, line a large plate with paper towels and set aside.
- 3When the oil is ready, add the rice flakes and fry, stirring until puffed and crisp, about 15 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, remove to the paper-towel-lined plate, season with salt, and set aside.
- 4Transfer the marinated persimmon mixture to a serving platter. Place the frisée, watercress, basil, and cilantro in the bowl the persimmon mixture was in, drizzle with a few tablespoons of the remaining dressing, season with salt, and toss to combine. Taste and add more dressing or salt as needed. Mound the frisée mixture over the persimmons, garnish with the puffed rice, and serve immediately.
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