Poms & Persimmons
Every Thanksgiving table needs a bright and colorful salad to combat a sea of monotone foods. Next to the far more attractive bowl of bread, boat of gravy, or buttery mashed potatoes, the salad usually doesn't get the attention it deserves. This salad might change all that. Bright pops of color from ruby red pomegranates and vibrant orange persimmons, tons of texture and flavor from caramelized hot honey walnuts, hearty frisee and escarole, and a tangy, sweet date, sherry vinegar, and sumac (best spice ever) dressing to pull it all together.
6 fuyu persimmons (NOT hachiya)
2 heads of frisee
3 bunches of escarole
2 cups walnuts
3 tbsp coconut sugar
3 tbsp honey
2 tbsp dried red chili pepper (espelette, aleppo, marash)
1 cup olive oil
10 pitted medjool dates
2 tbsp sumac
2 1/2 tbsp sherry vinegar
From the top of the pomegranate, slice vertically into the fruit, cutting down a little less than halfway. Then cut horizontally, again cutting down the same depth. You should be able to pull apart the top of the pomegranate like a flower, revealing the little gems inside. Remove all the seeds from the pomegranate, separating from the white pith, and set aside.
Slice the persimmons into thin circles, so you reveal a star at the center of each. Your choice to either keep the persimmons in circular form, or cut them into half-moons.
Put walnuts in a skillet over medium high heat with sugar, dried red chili, and honey, stirring frequently until walnuts are coated with the mixture. Add a little more honey if the sugar and chili don't seem to be sticking. Sprinkle lightly with large flake salt while still hot.
Chop frisee and escarole. Lightly season with salt and pepper, toss well.
Blend all the dressing ingredients in a powerful blender - a vitamix if you're able. Blend until the dressing is mostly smooth, but still with tiny chunks of date - this will take a while. I sometimes blend it for 8 minutes on medium speed. Make sure to take breaks so your blender doesn't burn out.
Toss all ingredients thoroughly, starting with half of the salad dressing. If the salad seems too lightly dressed, add a little more at a time. Serve immediately. Serves 8-10 as a side salad.