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Persimmon, Pomegranate, and Tangerine Salad with Roasted Shallot Balsamic Dressing

In this beautiful, savory fruit salad, pale, orange-colored wedges of crisp persimmon and juicy tangerines are dotted by tiny jewels of sweet-tart pomegranate seeds and dressed with deeply flavorful roasted shallot and balsamic vinaigrette.
The two most common varieties of Oriental persimmons are fuyu and hachiya. Fuyu persimmons are squatter and much less astringent than the oblong hachiya. They are typically eaten when firm like an apple, although they can also be eaten when a little softer. They are sweet and a little less intensely flavored than hachiya. Choose fuyu with deep orange skin.
Serves 4

~ 2 large shallots (about 4 ounces total), peeled, trimmed, and quartered
~ 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
~ 4 sprigs fresh thyme
~ 1 small pomegranate
~ 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
~ Pinch of kosher salt, or to taste
~ Pinch of freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
~ 6 cups loosely packed field greens or mesclun
~ 1 firm fuyu persimmon, sliced into thin wedges
~ 2 tangerines, peeled & sliced crosswise 1/4-inch thick

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

In a nonreactive, ovenproof skillet just big enough to hold the shallots, combine the shallots, vinegar, and thyme sprigs. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and roast until the shallots are softened and the vinegar is reduced by half, about 40 minutes. If the vinegar is not sufficiently reduced and the shallots are still a bit firm, remove the foil and continue to roast, uncovered, for 5 to 10 minutes.

While the shallots are roasting, prepare a large bowl of cold water. Cut the pomegranate in half lengthwise. Holding one half under the water, use your fingers to gently remove the seeds from the fruit. Most of them will float to the top. Repeat with the other half. Drain the seeds well, removing any pith left over. Set aside 1/3 cup. (Store any remaining seeds in the refrigerator for another use.)

When the shallots are ready, remove the pan from the oven and carefully remove the foil. Let cool for 15 minutes. Remove and discard the thyme. Transfer the shallots and vinegar to a blender. Add 1/2 cup water and blend until the mixture is smooth but slightly chunky, 8 to 10 seconds. Add the olive oil and blend for 5 more seconds. Add the salt and pepper.

Toss the greens with 1/4 cup of the dressing and salt and pepper, if desired. Pile the greens high in center of each of four plates. Scatter the persimmon wedges, tangerine slices, and pomegranate seeds over each salad. Drizzle with additional dressing and serve.

Recipe from Golden Door Cooks At Home: Favorite Recipes from the Celebrated Spa
by Dean Rucker with Marah Stets (Clarkson Potter, April 2009, $40.00/ Hardcover)


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