Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Persimmon and Fennel Salad

Following on the heels of my Arugula, Fennel, and Cheese Salad, here's another salad that stands up to winter weather.  Available in the winter months, persimmons come in two varieties - astringent (hachiya) and non-astringent (fuyu).  You'll definitely want the fuyu for this salad.  Choose fruit that is firm and ripe - a soft and mushy fuyu is one that has gone bad, and a persimmon that is not yet ripe will make you pucker after the first bite.

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons vegan sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 cups thinly sliced fennel bulb
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 4 fuyu persimmons, each peeled and cut into 6 wedges*
  • 1 ounce prepared vegan goat cheese**
1. Combine the shallots, red wine vinegar, sugar, olive oil, salt, and black pepper in a large bowl, whisking to combine.  Add the fennel, chives, and persimmons, and toss gently to coat.

2. Divide the fennel mixture evenly among 4 salad plates.  Crumble the prepared goat cheese evenly over each serving.

*The easiest way to peel the persimmon is to cut the fruit into wedges, then remove the fruit from each wedge with a paring knife.  I was happy to find that the fruit tears out easily - almost as if along an invisible line - without having to force it.

**My favorite recipe for a vegan version of spreadable goat cheese is as follows: in a small bowl, combine 1 ounce crumbled VegCuisine (formerly Sunergia) feta, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons Vegan Gourmet sour cream, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons Tofutti cream cheese, and a splash of lemon juice.  Combine with a fork until well blended.  Chill until ready to use.

Nutrition Info:
4 servings (1 portion), Calories 103 

Tasting Notes:
Exquisite! is the word that comes to mind.  This is quite simply my new favorite salad - and believe it or not, I'm not usually a fennel lover.  The persimmon was delectable - think of a cross between a non-fuzzy peach and honeydew melon, and that's a little what it tastes like.  What made the dressing so good?  I'm not even sure.  I've had dozens of vinaigrettes like this in my life, but somehow this just worked.  The fennel was sliced super thin and delicate, and the goat cheese was just a creamy burst to top it all off.  Pair with something savory and salty for a nice contrast, like Gardein chicken or Match pork.



  1. Are the calories per serving or per portion? Like you, I'm also not a huge fennel person, so how were you able to/what cut the flavor of the fennel?

  2. Sorry for being less specific than usual! I eye-balled dividing the salad among 4 plates - it probably works out to about 1 cup fennel mixture, and 2 teaspoons of the "goat cheese" per serving. I still don't know whether i just got the most amazingly flavored fennel bulb ever, or whether it was the dressing and persimmon that made this so incredible. Definitely worth a try!