by: Margie Bruner, owner of Glory Kitchen
I love a salad that has meaty, nutty flavors and is very filling – in a good way. This salad has the nutty flavors of walnuts and wild rice, tang from gorgeous winter persimmons and apples, sweet chewiness from golden raisins and herbaceous French goodness from Provence nut & spice mix. Underneath all these fresh beauties lies a bed of kale and chopped baby spinach tossed with a homemade french vinaigrette, which by the way, is so easy to make.
I’ve recently discovered the bright, sweet flavors of a persimmon, a winter fruit which adds so much color and flavor to dishes. Raw, roasted or sauteed, they infuse a unique and tangy sweetness to salads, are a great base for jams & jellies, perfect for toppings on crostini or toast, brighten up cheeses and the list goes on. Persimmons are of Asian origin, mostly China & Japan, and grow on trees much like apples. They are not thought to be berries, however, much like the tomato, botanically speaking the Persimmon fruit is in fact a berry. I made this salad as our main dish for lunch but it would certainly be a gorgeous first course for a more elegant dinner party.
Persimmon and Wild Rice Salad
Yield: 4-6 servings
- Provence nut & spice mix
- 1-2 persimmon
- 1-2 red apple, any tart variety
- 1/3 cup golden raisins
- 1½-2 cups wild rice
- ¾ cup walnuts, toasted
- 4 oz. baby spinach
- 1 bunch kale, ribs removed
- french vinaigrette dressing
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons Provence nut & spice mix
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon honey
- pinch of pepper
- good pinch of salt
for the salad:
for the french vinaigrette dressing:
- Mix together all the ingredients for the french vinaigrette dressing, except the olive oil. Whisk until well incorporated and then slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking as you go until the dressing is completely emulsified. Set aside.
- Make the wild rice (as directed on the package) by using chicken stock, vegetable stock or salty water. Cook well, almost over steam the rice but keeping it moist and tender, then set aside to cool.
- Lightly toast the walnuts in a hot pan over the stovetop (do not burn) and set aside. I like to keep them in large chunks and actually leave some pieces whole.
- Cut the kale into small pieces, removing the tough center stems. Slightly chop the spinach into large bite-sized pieces. In a large bowl, toss the greens and about 1 cup of wild rice with some of the french vinaigrette dressing, massaging well into the lettuces & rice, then place a good amount into each serving bowl.
- Top each salad bowl with an arrangement (see photo) of sliced, fresh persimmons, sliced apples, golden raisins, a bit more wild rice and toasted walnuts. Sprinkle the sliced fruits with Provence nut & spice mix and serve. Place more dressing on the serving table to add additional as desired.
Provence nut & spice mix is a crunchy and mild mix of chopped cashews and typical french herbs which include marjoram, savory, basil and thyme and together they enhance the vinaigrette dressing, however, if you want to add more spunky flavor, Cairo, Mumbai, San Miguel and Penang nut & spice mixes would work beautifully as well. Add these into the dressing instead of the Provence blend and sprinkle more nut & spice mix on top of the salad just before serving.
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