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Jewel-toned salad pretty enough for guests

Recipe: Persimmon-red grape salad with white-wine vinaigrette

Purple and orange salad on a plate
A salad as colorful as this one would brighten up
a weekday meal or holiday gathering. (Photos:
Debbie Arrington)


With jewel-like colors, this fruity combination will brighten late-fall or early winter meals. It’s simple enough for every day, but attractive (and tasty) enough for upcoming holiday get-togethers.

The main ingredients are few: Fuyu persimmon, red grapes, almonds and romaine lettuce.

It’s the white wine vinaigrette that brings them all together and accents their flavors. Using wine instead of vinegar softens the vinaigrette’s edges and complements the fruit’s sweetness. (It also keeps the persimmon its beautiful color.) I used mandarin orange syrup in the vinaigrette for another fruity note but a little sugar works as well.

Fresh Fuyu persimmons – the squat and crunchy kind – look like orange tomatoes. Like tomatoes, crisp Fuyus make a wonderful addition to traditional green salads. (Save the mushy ones for cookies.)

Persimmon-red grape salad

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

two flat persimmons on a cutting board
These are Fuyu persimmons.

1 large Fuyu persimmon, peeled and sliced

1 cup large red grapes, washed and halved

2 tablespoons almonds, chopped

3 cups romaine lettuce, shredded

Vinaigrette:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons white wine

1 teaspoon mandarin orange syrup or ½ teaspoon sugar

½ teaspoon seasoning salt

Several grinds of black pepper

grapes, persimmon and almonds
 Grapes pair well with persimmons; almonds add crunch.

Instructions:

In a large bowl, combine sliced persimmon, grapes and almonds.

Make vinaigrette. Combine all ingredients in a shaker jar; cover and shake. (Or whisk ingredients together in a small bowl.)

Pour vinaigrette over fruit mixture. Toss lightly to coat.

Add lettuce. Toss just before serving.

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RECIPE

A recipe for preparing delicious meals from the bounty of the garden.

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Garden Checklist for week of July 7

Take care of garden chores early in the morning, concentrating on watering. We’re still in survival mode until this heat wave breaks.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to conserve moisture.

* Prevent sunburn; provide temporary shade for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash and other crops with “sensitive” skin.

* Hold off on feeding plants until temperatures cool back down to “normal” range. That means daytime highs in the low to mid 90s.

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week. Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more.

* Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Some weeds thrive in hot weather. Whack them before they go to seed.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* One good thing about hot days: Most lawns stop growing when temperatures top 95 degrees. Keep mower blades set on high.

* Once the weather cools down a little, it’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* After the heat wave, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Make sure the seeds stay hydrated.

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