Persimmons. A totally underrated fruit. And all too rare here in Tennessee (at least, I haven’t seen much of them).
I remember going through a persimmon phase when we lived in California, and it was there that we first created this dish for Thanksgiving, years ago during our BB (before blog) era (related: if Thanksgiving falls and it is not blogged, did it ever really happen?) I kid, of course, but I am sure there were many recipes lost and forgotten because of the lack of a blog on which to record it.
When I saw a pile of (somewhat sad-looking, admittedly) persimmons at the market, I realized that it had been years since I’d had the fruit and I had missed it, dearly. I quickly crawled out of my nostalgia, threw a half-dozen of the least-bruised fruits into a bag, and decided to recreate that original dish for this year’s feast.
Let me just say that the contrast of the crunchy green beans and soft, creamy persimmon was ideal, bringing a perfect element of sweetness to an otherwise boring bowl of sauteed beans. Not to mention the color and brightness they brought to a primarily beige plate… dare I say they stole the show?
If you’ve never had a persimmon… it’s hard to describe. Sweet and mild in flavor, somewhere in between a pumpkin and a mango, with the smooth, almost custardy texture of a ripe apricot, in the guise of an orange tomato. They come in two main varieties: fuyu (pictured) are more suitable for slicing and sauteing, and hachiya, which are softer and more tart and most often used for baking.
We did not peel ours, and whether you do is completely up to you, but I will say that the fruit would have been much more enjoyable without the tough skin. Cooking the skin longer would probably help, but the soft flesh would be long gone at that point. As such I highly recommend making the extra effort to peel them beforehand.
Apparently (after consulting the all-powerful Google) persimmons DO grow in Tennessee, quite readily actually, and oh how I’d love to find a local source.
Um, anyone have a tree I can come raid? I’ll pay in baked goods and jam.
Yield: 6 side servings
Total Time: 25 minutes
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallot and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add green beans and toss until coated in oil. Cover and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes or until beans are bright green but just underdone, stirring occasionally.
Add persimmon slices and stir to combine. Continue to cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until beans are tender and persimmons are softened (time will vary depending on the size of your beans). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm.