This salad is the perfect combination of autumn flavors, and is a refreshing side dish in comparison to all the buttery carbs that are normally served with your Thanksgiving turkey – that’s not to say I don’t love buttery carbs, but leafy greens and fruit are delicious too. I have made this salad for Thanksgiving the last four years (with the exception of 2010 when I decided to skip the holiday and go to Cabo San Lucas – best non-Thanksgiving ever), and I usually make it a few other times during the season. It’s easy to assemble and the flavors go perfectly with one another. Even MM can do it!
- 1 head of red leaf lettuce, washed and chopped
- 1 large pomegranate or 2 small ones, seeds only
- 2 jiro persimmons (the hard, short kind), chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 1 cup walnut pieces
- 1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese
- 3 TB champagne vinegar (I recommend TJ’s Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar)
- 1 TB olive oil, plus 1 tsp
- pinch of white pepper
- pinch of salt
Start by seeding the pomegranate. Cut it into quarters and soak the pieces in a bowl of cold water for about 10 minutes. This will make it easier to separate the seeds from the fruit, because all the seeds will float to the bottom and the pieces of the skin will rise to the top. Once you’ve removed all the seeds, rinse them in a strainer making sure to remove all the skin pieces.
Next, heat 1 tsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the walnuts and sauté with a pinch of salt, stirring often, for about 4 minutes or until browned. Be careful not to burn them! Wrap in aluminum foil to keep warm.
Prepare the dressing: whisk together 3 parts champagne vinegar with 1 part olive oil, add salt and white pepper to taste. The measurements above are mere suggestions, as I usually do everything to taste when preparing dressing.
Combine the lettuce, persimmons, pomegranate, walnuts and blue cheese in a large salad bowl. Add dressing and toss just before serving. If you make too much, set some aside before adding the dressing so that it you can keep it as leftovers without it getting soggy.
This salad goes very well with a medium-bodied Chardonnay; something fruity with a hint of oak to it, but not buttery. Napa wineries are starting to shy away from the buttery flavor of Chardonnay, and moving towards a more dynamic wine. Some of my go-to Napa Chardonnays are Saddleback, Trefethen “Harmony”, Groth, and of course, JAQK Cellars “Pearl Handle.” I suppose I need to branch out more, but when it comes to Chardonnay I sort of stick to what I know.