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Salad of astringent persimmon, pomegranate, herbs and leaves
entrée salad for 6 persons

This is a deceptively complex salad, but rewards the diner with marvellous complexity, overlapping textures, crunch, softness and frequently surprise with the insertion of ginger into the flavour profile. Dried ginger was well known in the Middle East and Mediterranean many hundreds of years ago and this recipe brings that flavour back to modern Mediterranean ingredients.

FOR THE PICKLED GINGER
This is a preserve and something we always have on hand. It keeps indefinitely refrigerated so we always make a decent sized batch. If young ginger is not available use any green ginger you can find but blanche it additional times in salted water until the heat is at an acceptable level.

300g peeled weight young green ginger, finely julienned — also see tip
10g Maldon sea salt
500g caster sugar
500g Vine Valley white wine vinegar or similar high quality naturally fermented white wine vinegar
500g filtered water + more filtered water as required

METHOD
Put the julienned ginger and salt into a medium bowl and cover generously with the hottest water you tap can provide. Allow the ginger to stand for 15 minutes and then drain and rinse it thoroughly under cold running water.

Weigh the sugar, vinegar and water into a saucepan that is at least 3L capacity because the syrup boils high. Place on high heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved, turn the heat down to the lowest possible point and stir through the julienned ginger. Simmer very gently until the syrup starts to thicken and the ginger is translucent. Small amounts of water may need to be added to achieve this and the length of cooking depends pretty much on the age of the ginger.

to store without refrigeration : store in sterilised jars
to store in the fridge : store in clean containers and keep refrigerated

tips
  • We never throw out the peel, but vac and freeze it to use in Asian and Chinese stocks.
  • When young ginger is not available old ginger can be used but may require blanching and refreshing in boiling salted water for several times to remove the heat and soften it.
  • FOR THE SALAD PART ONE
    100g pickled ginger about 50:50 ginger and syrup
    6 – 8 astringent persimmons, peeled and sliced
    10g very fresh sesame oil or 20g Japanese white sesame oil — also see tips below
    30g house tahina
    20g honey
    75g EV olive oil
    50g Leonardi white balsamic vinegar
    10g ginger garlic puree…please click here for details
    Maldon sea salt
    white pepper, freshly and finely ground

    FOR THE SALAD PART TWO
    this can be as flexible as what you have in your garden. We do not use any hydroponic ingredients aiming for maximum flavour and integrity.
    3 small cos, washed and dried
    3 witlof, gently pulled apart
    1 curly endive, white part only washed and dried
    50g p/w red shallot, very finely chopped
    1 bunch sweet basil, gently leafed
    ½ bunch Thai (sometimes called sacred) basil, gently leafed — also see tips below for better storage
    30g freshly roasted sesame seeds, cooled
    2 large pomegranates, seeds only carefully removed no pith

    METHOD
    FOR THE SALAD PART ONE
    Weigh the pickled ginger into a bowl and add the persimmon slices. Put on a pair of food service gloves and very gently coat the persimmon slices. Put all the remaining ingredients into another bowl season lightly with Maldon and white pepper and whisk together.

    FOR THE SALAD PART TWO
    the individual components can all be prepared in advance but the salad needs to be dressed and served because it goes soggy quite quickly
    Select a plate to serve the salad on and arrange two thirds of the larger cos leaves on the plate. Put the remaining leaves and herbs into a bowl and gently combine them (hands) then add the dressing (part one) and very carefully coat the salad component. Scatter the persimmon and ginger over the top, gently pushing it into the leaves but not combining it. The idea is to keep two distinctive flavour profiles. Slide and pile everything into the middle of the arranged cos leaves. Scatter the sesame and pomegranate seeds over the top and serve immediately.

    Ginger Garlic Paste
    1 4 inch piece peeled ginger
    12 garlic cloves
    ½ cup vinegar
    salt to taste

    To make the Ginger and Garlic Paste, blend ginger, garlic and vinegar with a pinch or two of salt in a liquidiser.
    p 49 Jasmin Kahani, copyright © Anant Singh — keeps very well refrigerated.

    tips
  • SESAME OIL like any oil will go rancid and old sesame oil is a particularly nasty taste and can spoil your entire salad. If you use sesame oil infrequently buy it in small bottles, check the use by date understanding that if it is close it will in most instances be two years old and well past its best.
  • THAI BASIL…the worst thing you can do for this variety of basil is store it in the fridge where it will go almost instantly black. Store in a cool place in a glass of water or wrap it in wet newspaper or a damp cloth. It grows almost as easily as sweet basil although you might need to find a warm spot for it in winter.

  • for a wonderful Persian pomegranate sorbet and other tips and ideas…please click here
    Although persimmons look stunning in a bowl this is not the way to store them if you want to eat them. They are best stored sitting on paper towel placed a little apart in a cool place. They should be checked daily to ensure that the ripest are used first. Whilst the old variety are only ripe and ready to eat when they feel like jelly in a bag it is much more difficult to tell when the astringent persimmons are ready to eat, but they are still firm and showing no sign of softness. Neither enjoy the cooking.

    the people behind Galaxy Guidesfood editor and publisher
    Ann Oliver
    food-editor@galaxyguides.com

    champagne editor
    Kaaren Palmer
    kaaren.palmer@galaxyguides.com

    Contibutors

    Jan Bowman
    Political comentator, briliant photographer…farmers’s market obsessed…Brisbane based.

    Olivia Stratton Makris
    Masters of Gastronomy, NYC, Spain and constant assistance and editorial suggestion…Adelaide based.

    Michael Martin…Northern America 2016.Photographic assistance Kym Martin…Adelaide based.

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    copyright © text, recipes and images Ann Oliver & Kaaren Palmer 2016.