This salad is easy but elegant, perfect for fall and holiday meals. Plus it has “kid appeal.” One of my ten-year-old students told me it was the only salad he had ever liked! Serves 4
2 Fuyu persimmons, sliced lengthwise in 1/4-inch slices
1 tablespoon olive oil
Pinch of sugar and salt
3 cups walnuts
1 /2 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cumin
1 /4 teaspoon cloves
1 /4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 /4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 /4 teaspoon cayenne
1 /4 teaspoon cardamom powder
1 /4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
3 tablespoons walnut oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 cups loosely packed spinach leaves, washed and dried
2 cups washed and dried frisée -stems trimmed and torn into bite-size pieces
1 /3 cup thinly sliced red onion
2 oz dry Jack cheese, shaved into shards (U.S. version of Parmigiano Reggiano)
1 /4 cup pomegranate seeds
TO GRILL THE PERSIMMONS: Preheat a grill or grill pan; make sure the grates are clean. Brush persimmon slices with oil, sprinkle with a pinch of sugar and salt, and place on grill. Grill until slightly golden and softened, about 4–5 minutes. Turn over and grill another 4–5 minutes. Set aside.
TO MAKE THE MAPLE-SPICED WALNUTS: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Toss walnuts in a large bowl with maple syrup. Add spices and mix well. Cover a baking sheet with Silpat (permanent parchment paper) or a piece of parchment paper. Spread the nuts out in a single layer. Bake 10–12 minutes, flipping after 5 minutes. Remove from the pan into a large bowl. Store in an airtight container.
TO MAKE THE VINAIGRETTE: Whisk together the vinegar, mustard, honey, and thyme. Slowly whisk in the oils. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the spinach, frisée, and red onion. Toss with dressing and a little salt. Garnish with persimmons, nuts, cheese, and pomegranate seeds.
© Cool Cuisine – Taking the Bite Out of Global Warming, 2008