If Roald Dahl had been in my kitchen this past winter while writing his children’s classics, he may well have titled the one about “James” as Dale and the Giant Persimmon. Though I haven’t had any particularly giant fruits in my kitchen, persimmons have certainly been giant my culinary craft this season as I continue to find new ways to use this seasonal fruit.
One of things that I love about this fruit is the pure sweetness of it which, matched with the texture of a persimmon cut at just the right point, produces a gorgeous sensation in the mouth. The more I’ve worked with this fruit, however, the more I’ve discovered its one inherent weakness: it has little to no acid. Some might think that’s great but, when it comes to cooking, acid is absolutely imperative to producing a balanced ‘taste’ on the palette and leveling out sugars and fats. Spin that around, though, and this means the persimmon has a great opportunity to pair with acidic foods and still maintain a striking balance. So why not balance this fruit in, say, salsa and serve it with Tex-Mex fare? Enter the lime … the key to balance in this dish.
Beyond getting that acid right, there is nothing complicated about this and this will take you as long as it takes you to chop and dice these ingredients. The only thing to note is that this side will improve with a few more hours for the ingredients to marry and mix. Bonus: the lime seems to activate what I assume are high natural levels of pectin in the persimmon which makes this a beautifully thick salsa.
Cook time: —
Total time: 20 minutes
- 1 cup (250mL) or one medium-sized ripe but still ‘firm’ persimmon, diced large
- 1/2 cup (125mL) or one Roma tomato, chopped
- 1/2 cup (125mL) or 1/2 sweet red/yellow bell pepper, diced
- 2 tablespoons (30mL) red onion, finely diced
- 2 tablespoons (30mL) cilantro, chiffonade
- 2 tablespoons (30mL) or about 1/2 lime, freshly juiced
- 1/8 teaspoon (1/2mL) ground cumin
- 1/8 teaspoon (1/2mL) chili paste, or to taste
→ alternatively, use 1/2 jalapeno, seeded and finely minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- Core the persimmon, slice it, then cut it into lengths, and finally into 1-cm chunks and add them to a non-reactive glass/ceramic bowl.
- Dice the bell pepper, tomato, onion, and cilantro and add them to the bowl.
- Juice in the lime and season with the cumin, chili, and salt and pepper. Taste. Add a tiny bit more lime juice, if necessary, and taste for salt and spice based on your personal preference.
Cover and let stand for 1-2 hours, ideally, and serve with your favourite taco recipe. The persimmons, high pectin, will thicken things up as it stands.