Healthy Ingredient of the Week – Persimmons

Chances are, you’ve never cooked with, or maybe even heard of, persimmons.  These fruits, which look like tomatoes but are consumed in a similar manner to apples, are currently in season and worth giving a try, for both their sweet taste and nutritional value.  Persimmons come in two main varieties:  Hachiya persimmons contain high amounts of tannins (compounds also found in coffee and tea) and are best consumed cooked, while the more commonly-found fuyu persimmons are best eaten raw.  Both varieties are high in fiber, Vitamins A and C, and manganese, making them a healthy – and unique – addition to your seasonal menu.

Warm Farro Salad with Roasted Squash, Persimmons & Pecans

1 ½ cups uncooked farro
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed, and diced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon apple cider or white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
¼ cup olive oil
⅓ cup pecan halves, lightly toasted
1 Fuyu persimmon, diced small
¼ cup chopped Italian parsley
3 ounces crumbled feta
⅓ cup pomegranate seeds (optional)
Pepper, to taste

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. In a medium saucepan combine farro with 3 cups of cold water. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes or until tender.
  3. Toss the squash cubes in a little olive oil, then transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet, in a single layer. Roast the squash in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes until brown, caramelized, and tender, stopping once halfway through to slide a spatula under the squash and flip it gently and rotate the baking sheet so the squash cooks evenly.
  4. While the farro and squash are cooking, in a small bowl, whisk together the vinegars and shallots. In a steady, slow stream, whisk in the olive oil until blended. Season to taste with pepper.
  5. Drain the cooked farro, then place the farro in a serving bowl along with cooked squash, pecans, persimmon, parsley, and pomegranate seeds (if using). Pour the dressing over and toss. Add the feta and season with pepper to taste. Toss again gently. Serve over a bed of arugula if desired.

Recipe adapted from The Kitchn 

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