Persimmon Caprese Salad

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PERSIMMON CAPRESE  | A new twist to one of Italy’s most simple and delicious salads.

Sick of the typical heirloom tomato mozzarella salad combo (aka Insalata Caprese)? Fear not, I’ve come up with a new twist to one of my classical summer salad favourites. Why not substitute the tomatoes for the persimmon fruit? Like the bright redness of tomatoes, the luscious orange glow from persimmons will also provide a sharp contrast in color when juxtaposed against the creamy whiteness of mozzarella cheese.

Persimmons are one of those fruits that, when you catch the right moment of ripeness – which is limited to only one or two days – truly offer a culinary experience of perfection.

Honey sweet and so soft that the skin care barely hold their juicy flesh, they make a perfect complement to Mozzarella di Bufala.

untitled (4 of 15).jpgAs for origins, this delicate fruit is native to China. From China, it spread to Korean peninsula and Japan very long time ago, and later was introduced to California during the middle of the 19th century.

In terms of nutrition, persimmon provides a powerful dosage of vitamin A, offering 55% of the daily value. Vitamin C runs a close second with 21%, plus excellent amounts of manganese, a co-factor for the enzyme superoxide dismutase, for healthy mucous membranes and skin, as well as a known protectant against lung and mouth cancers.

For those who aren’t so regular, persimmons are also an excellent source of fiber. B-complex vitamins are present to stabilise the metabolic system, along with copper and phosphorus.

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Persimmon Caprese Salad

Time: 15 minutes | Serves: 3-4 as a side

Ingredients:

  • 1 mozzarella ball
  • 1 persimmon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of maple syrup
  • Bunch of fresh basil
  • A handful of walnuts
  • Sprinkle of cumin and cinnamon

Method:

  1. Rip mozzarella ball into bite-size chunks. Slice persimmon into wedges and then into bite-sized chunks. Tear off the leaves of the fresh basil.
  2. Mix walnuts with the cumin and cinnamon spices in a small bowl. On medium-low heat, slowly pan fry the walnuts until golden brown. Remove from slow and let cool.untitled (14 of 15)
  3. Combine olive oil, balsamic and maple syrup in a small bowl.untitled (15 of 15)
  4. Layer the persimmon chunks, mozzarella and basil leaves on a plate in a rustic fashion. Sprinkle the spiced walnuts on top. Drizzle the olive oil balsamic mix on top. If desired, squeeze some aged balsamic vinegar on top in a zig zag fashion for an extra dose of balsamic sweetness.untitled (7 of 15) untitled (3 of 15)untitled (9 of 15).jpg

Simple Caprese Salad

Caprese Salad (2 of 4)

Did you know the Caprese salad was originally made to resemble the colors of the Italian flag: red, white, and green? 

Insalata caprese (literally, the salad from Capri) is the perfect summertime dish for cooks in a hurry. In fact, slicing the delicate mozzarella is the hardest part.

I love the simplicity and refreshing taste of this simple salad. Serve it as an appetiser, as a side, or as a mid-afternoon snack.

For this who want the added richness (and sweetness) of a balsamic glaze, feel free to to make a balsamic reduction to drizzle on top as a final garnish. Now, you’ll notice that on the moist/wet mozzarella, the balsamic reduction starts to seep and run (a watercolor effect )– but on the basil leaves and platter, it remains more of a semi-solid glaze. So if you’re artistic, you can create designs on the sides of your platter to really up the presentation factor.

INGREDIENTS:

  • A pack of maxi mozzarella (250g) or two packs of mozzarella (125g each)
  • A bunch of fresh basil
  • Two round tomatoes
  • Extra virgin oil, to drizzle
  • Balsamic reduction (optional), to drizzle
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste

METHOD:

  1. Slice mozzarella into 1/4 inch slices. Repeat for the tomatoes. Separate basil leaves from their stems.Caprese Salad (4 of 4)
  2. Layer alternating slices of tomatoes and mozzarella, adding a basil leaf between each, on a large, shallow platter. Grind fresh salt and black pepper all over and drizzle with a high quality extra virgin olive oil. For those who like balsamic vinegar, feel free to garnish with a balsamic glaze. Caprese Salad (1 of 4)