We had our Thanksgiving dinner on the Saturday after T-Day. I was waiting for our guest to arrive and looking over the food… something just wasn’t right. Turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, Brussels sprouts, cranberry sauce, rolls, pie… Hmmm. All soft cooked foods. We need something cold, raw, sharp.
It just so happened that a friend gave us with a bag of Fuyu persimmons. He said he couldn’t get enough of them and they were $1 a pound near Sacramento, so brought them as a gift in exchange for sleeping on our sofa. I like persimmons but… well, it’s more like I don’t dislike them, but there are fruits I like better. I like the idea of them more than I like to eat them. Still, there they sat in their roundness, waiting for a purpose in life.
(In case you’re a persimmon neophyte. here is an explanation about the differences in persimmons – many varieties but two main types, and it is important to know which you are dealing with.)
I looked in the fridge and saw fresh celery. Maybe a persimmon Waldorf? Would that work? It did.
PERSIMMON WALDORF SALAD
- 2 Fuyu persimmons
- 2 cups thinly sliced celery
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
Peel the persimmons with a knife, removing the calyx (that’s the leafy part) and tough core). Slice them thinly and combine with the celery and onion.
You can use any oil-and-vinegar type dressing, but this is what I made.
- 1 tablespoon apple cider or sherry vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (such as safflower or canola)
- 1 -2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon or stoneground mustard
- salt and pepper
Combine dressing ingredients and whip like crazy with a fork until emulsified. Taste and adjust seasoning – you may want more sugar or mustard. When it’s just right, pour over salad and toss.
This salad does not keep well after 24 hours so make it the day you intend to serve it.
No sooner than I got home with a gorgeous emerald-green head of Romaine than the alerts came in: Romaine implicated in e-coli cases. Well, shit (so to speak). After a day of dithering, I threw it out. Now what?
It was cold Monday night. I’d had sad news on a couple of fronts, and I just didn’t feel like making some lean and healthy veggie dish. Dammit, I wanted comfort food. Since I’m the chief cook in the house, that’s what we had. Meatloaf (made with grass-fed beef and Italian sausage), macaroni and cheese, and… since I’m not a complete hedonist, I made this salad. It might be another take on Waldorf.
White cabbage is very good right now in the market and provides a super-crisp crunch. I found Arkansas Black apples in the natural food store – $2.29 a pound, but what price deliciousness? I was not surprised to learn they are probably related to the King David apple, another rarely-seen but incredibly flavorful apple. I knew there was fresh celery in the crisper.
This salad keeps very well for at least two days (my husband ate the leftovers the second day so I don’t know how long it might keep after that). It tends toward the excessively pale, hence the brightly-colored apple suggestion.
WINTER WALDORF SALAD
- 1/2 large head of white cabbage, chopped into about 1/2″ pieces
- 2 very crisp, juicy, flavorful apples, preferably with vividly-colored peel
- 2 cups sliced crisp celery
Wash the apples, core them, and cut into pieces that are easily bite-sized (i.e. less than 1/2″). Combine with cabbage and celery.
Any cole slaw-type dressing or creamy dressing will work, but I like this combination of celery seeds and anise seed with apple cider.
- 2 tablespoons apple juice or apple cider
- 2 tablespoons canned evaporated milk, cream, or half-and-half
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon sour cream
- 1-2 teaspoons sugar to taste, optional
- 1 teaspoon celery seed
- 1 teaspoon anise seed, lightly crushed
- salt and pepper to taste
Beat dressing ingredients together until blended. Pour over vegetables, toss, and let sit in refrigerator at least two hours before serving.