“Restraint. Use a couple of ingredients and keep it simple—that’s sort of my philosophy, not just about food but in life,” Chef recently shared with Lang Whitaker from GQ when he asked what the secret was to great salad. “Salad in particular is a delicate thing. I think it’s about the simplicity and the restraint, and then of course proportion is really important, and not overdressing the ingredients.” Lang also has a point. Writing on (and in our case working in) the food biz requires some strategy if you’re going to be surrounded by all sorts of delicious treats all the time. Salad can be one of those things. I like Lang’s — every day for the last few years, he has eaten a vegetarian salad for lunch. Boom. Keeping it simple. Check out his full story “The Easy Secrets to a Good-Ass Salad” here (also with an addictive salad dude GIF on repeat) and since we’ve shared the recipe for Fi’lia’s Caesar salad before here on the blog, try this beauty from Chef’s cookbook, as pomegranates start showing up in the market to put the principles to work at home. Since persimmon is a fall ingredient, don’t try to find a good one. Customize! Opt for Florida or Georgia peaches, coming into season now.
Persimmon and Pomegranate Salad with Crumbled Ricotta and Pomegranate Vinaigrette
A salad of unusual qualities, this vividly colorful combo celebrates exotic autumn fruit of persimmon and pomegranate. The combination of tastes is awesome: peppery watercress, sweet-spicy persimmon, tart pomegranate seeds, and salty cheese, all held together by a tangy vinaigrette. Leftover pomegranate vinaigrette will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week and is goes great with grilled meats.
Serves 4 as entrée, 8 as starter
1 bunch watercress, stems trimmed (about 4 cups lightly packed)
2 medium heads frisée (about 8 cups lightly packed)
2 ripe Fuyu persimmons, peeled and thinly sliced (see Ingredient Note)
1 shallot, minced
1/4 cup Pomegranate Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
1/4 cup crumbled firm Fresh Homemade Ricotta salata or store-bought ricotta salata
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
In a mixing bowl, combine the watercress, frisée, persimmons, and shallot. Drizzle with 1/4 cup of the pomegranate vinaigrette, tossing with your hands to dress the salad lightly and evenly. Divide the salad equally among chilled plates. Top with ricotta and pomegranate seeds.
Makes about 1 cup
2 cups pomegranate juice
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup canola oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pour the pomegranate juice into a small pot and place over medium-low heat. Cook until the juice has reduced to 1/4 cup and is thick and syrupy, about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.
In a small mixing bowl or mason jar, combine the cooled pomegranate syrup, champagne vinegar, balsamic, olive and canola oils; season lightly with salt and pepper. Whisk or shake to blend and dissolve the salt; reserve at room temperature until needed. Keep any leftover vinaigrette covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.