The secret ingredient in this kale & fuyu persimmon salad is hidden in the vinaigrette: the bizarre and fascinating citron known as Buddha's Hand.
The fleshless fruit imparts a lovely fragrant sweet lemon essence minus the furniture polish aftertaste. Use the zest in just the same way you would a lemon. It can be candied, blended up in vinaigrette (pith included- it's sweet!), or displayed as a fragrant center piece on the dining room table. It also makes a sexy twist in a glass of champagne.
Take the ingredients of this salad and use them simply or, if you feel like spending an hour on a dish that will be eaten in less than thirty seconds, you can follow my lead!?! I've sugared the walnuts with maple syrup, fried Cambozola blue cheese in beignet beer batter, and served the persimmon roasted in honey and sliced raw. Either way the flavor profiles hit all the right notes: sweet, sour, salty, and bitter plus the varying textures make for an exciting first course.
Blue cheese beignets are a guilty pleasure. If you're not a salad lover they also taste good with a juicy steak. But, it's hard to resist a crunchy beignet oozing salty blue gooeyness all over a sweet roasted perimmon...
I like kale raw, it's so much healthier that way. And if I'm popping fried cheese balls in my mouth I favor the idea of a cleansing antioxidant chaser. Here's farmer Jessica with a fresh picked bunch of curly kale at Echo Valley Farm...
Kale & Fuyu Persimmon Salad with Blue Cheese Beignets, Buddha's Hand Vinaigrette
1 bunch curly kale, stems removed, leaves torn bite size
1 fuyu persimmon, sliced thin
1/4 small red onion, shaved thin
1/2 cup toasted walnuts (sugared or not, email me if you want recipe)
1 buddha's hand, two fingers finely chopped including pith (about 3 tablespoons)
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon orange blossom honey, or local honey
1/2 cup olive oil
Cambozola Blue cheese
3/4 cup flour
4 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup beer
sea salt & freshly ground pepper
For the vinaigrette: combine rice wine vinegar, honey, and chopped buddha's hand in a blender and mix on high speed for 30 seconds. On low speed drizzle in olive oil. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Taste and adjust to your liking.
For the blue cheese beignets: in a small mixing bowl whisk together dry ingredients (cake flour, cornstarch, baking powder). Gently stir in beer with whisk until batter is mostly smooth – a few lumps are okay. Refrigerate for at least an hour up to a day. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper before using.
Make cambozola blue cheese 1-inch balls by rolling cheese in between palms and refrigerate. When ready to fry heat canola oil in a deep fryer to 350˚F (following manufacturer instructions) and have a plate lined with paper towels handy. With a spoon dip cheese balls in batter and coat thoroughly, then quickly lower into deep fryer. Drain on paper towels. Beignets are done when golden brown. Serve immediately.
Assembly: toss sliced persimmon, shaved red onion, and kale with vinaigrette, season with sea salt & pepper, and plate. Serve beignets alongside. Scatter walnuts around plate or mix in.