In Southern California, the weather sometimes seems absolutely seasonless. Pick any given day and you might not be able to tell whether it’s the spring, fall, or winter. (Summer is a different story, as anyone who has lived through the 100+ degree days can avow.) But even here, despite the seemingly year-round sunshine and warmth, there is a distinct seasonality to the produce. The crowds that descend upon the farmers’ market in the spring and summer months, eager for berries, stone fruits, and sweet corn slowly dissipate as autumn arrives. Gone are the trays of samples of apricots, nectarines, strawberries, and plums. Instead, the stands are filled with heads of cauliflower, winter squash, and brussels sprouts- all wonderful things, mind you, but perhaps not as easy or obvious to love, no?
There are a few resolute fruits that persist at the farmer’s market well into the winter even as most of the stands turn to veggies alone. Apples, pears, and citrus abound, naturally, but it’s not easy to get excited about an apple when you think about the fresh juicy figs you had just a couple of months ago. Among the more interesting fruits that flourish in December are persimmons and pomegranates, and this fruit salad, recently posted here on Simply Recipes, is an exotic twist on your more ordinary summery fruit salad. It mixes sweet, crisp Fuyu persimmons (don’t even think about subbing a Hachiya!), a bit of tart apple, tangy pomegranate seeds, and fresh mint, all topped off with a light splash of lemon juice and honey. If you have a great honey, use it! I used a dollop of the wonderful manuka honey we brought back from our honeymoon in New Zealand last year and it definitely added another floral note to the salad.
I think this would be a great dish for a potluck brunch- it’s a little unusual, visually appealing, and comes together in five minutes flat. While it can’t compete with a perfectly ripe summer nectarine, in my heart, this is a pretty great substitute until warmer weather returns.
Persimmon pomegranate fruit salad (serves 4)
3 fuyu persimmons, peeled, chopped (1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces), seeds (if any) discarded
3/4 cup pomegranate seeds
1 Granny Smith or Fuji apple, peeled, cored, chopped (1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces)
7-10 leaves fresh mint, thinly sliced crosswise (stack then, then roll them up like a cigar and take slices from the end)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
1. Gently toss all of the ingredients together. Voila!
Keeps for at least a couple of days in the refrigerator, but best eaten same day it is made.