The leaves outside might say fall, but the weather this past weekend certainly seemed like spring. It was amazing to walk outside without a jacket and feel the warmth of the sun amidst the stunning colors of the leaves, taking me out of reality for some time so that I could just treasure being in the current moment and forget about any troubles I might have. I wish I was not so busy, but even looking out the window and seeing this sight (and more trees not pictured) anytime I looked up, knowing that it was a gorgeous day out there, put me in a better mood.
With only a little bit of time to spare for meals throughout the day and a desire to still capture the mood of this special weather, I put together a simple persimmon salad that could not have been more perfect. Less than 10 ingredients yet still so much flavor - no matter how busy you might be, you have to find time to make this salad too. It will entertain your palate in so many ways and give you the energy boost you need to get through the rest of the day!
First, of course, I started with persimmons. Although they were still hard, because they were Fuyus, the flavor was sweet enough so that I could enjoy them without ripening further (and the crisp crunch would be lovely in the salad). I peeled the skin and sliced them thin. Then I halved some fresh cranberries to add some autumnal tartness - as I forgot what the inside of a cranberry looked like, this activity was more fun than expected! Next, I gathered some micro watercress to add a subtle, spicy bite, crumbled feta for saltiness, basil for some green and a nod to the summer when I had so much basil growing in the backyard, and toasted cashews for crunch and neutral nuttiness. To finish it off, I mixed apple cider vinegar with lemon juice and my favorite fall spice, cinnamon; I preferred a dressing that was very clean so the natural flavors of each ingredient in its purest form would still shine, using the acidity to keep the salad light and vibrant and the cinnamon to bring it back around to November.
With five different textures and almost every taste covered in under 10 minutes of cooking, this salad is a keeper. When I was preparing it, I thought it would just be another enjoyable dish, but I was more than impressed with how scrumptiously pleasant it was when a little bit of every component was included in the bite, along with how much its colors reminded me of the trees outside. I know for a fact that I am adding it to my repertoire and will see it on the dinner table again within the week. It does not matter if the cold comes back - I will just pretend that it is 70°F and sunny and that I am out there frisking in the leaves, surrounded by a fire to drive away any chill and amp up the cozy, and such radiant fall foliage which I never want to disappear.
Fall Foliage-Inspired Persimmon Salad
Persimmons | Cranberries | Micro Watercress | Crumbed Feta | Basil | Cashews | Apple Cider Vinegar | Lemon Juice | Cinnamon
Peel and slice the persimmons thin.
Slice the cranberries in half vertically (they have a more interesting appearance).
Toast the cashews until golden brown and rough chop.
Chop the basil fine.
Mix equal parts apple cider vinegar and lemon juice. Season with cinnamon to taste.
To plate: place the watercress on the bottom. Layer the persimmons over the watercress, then garnish with the cranberries, cashews, basil, and feta. Drizzle the dressing on top.