Brussels sprouts and persimmons are two of fall’s finest specimens, yet I frequently feel compelled to defend them. They’re loved or hated, sometimes intensely so. Often, it seems the distaste for them has more to do with being poorly prepared than any inherent shortcomings in the produce.
Understandable! Growing up, we had a persimmon tree in our backyard. Every fall my mother would line the unripe fruits along our windowsills, waiting for them to soften. It was a perfect ritual to mark the change of the season and one I remember fondly. However, once the persimmons softened, I found the texture pretty unpalatable. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I learned about Fuyu persimmons, that lovely variety that is edible and ripe in its firm state. Its sweet flavor, delicate crunch and subtle spice notes make it an absolute treat when in season.
Brussels sprouts, too, can so easily be overcooked, resulting in a mushy, sad affair that does no justice to this fine little cabbage-like vegetable. Here, however, the threat of overcooking is avoided altogether by shredding the sprouts and using them raw to make a salad that is a little bit like a slaw. Balanced against the sweet crunch of the persimmons and pecans and the sharp, salty tang of the feta, it is a salad with heft and texture and life. And right now, we need all the salad we can get.
Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad With Persimmon, Pecans and Feta
Yield: 4-6 servings
1 pound Brussels sprouts
1 medium Fuyu persimmon
1/2 cup crumbled feta
1/2 cup chopped pecans
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons Balsamic vingegar
Sea salt + pepper to taste
Using a sharp knife or a mandoline, slice the Brussels sprouts finely, starting at the end farthest from the stem. Break them up with your fingers, discard any tough centers, and toss in a large salad bowl.
Thinly slice the persimmon and add it to the bowl.
Add the feta and pecans to the bowl.
Whisk together the oil and vinegar until they have emulsified.
Toss the salad with the dressing, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
This can be refrigerated for an hour or two until ready to serve.
Kimberley Hasselbrink is a food photographer and blogger based in San Francisco. She is the author of the blog The Year in Food, which is framed around a monthly seasonal food guide. Kimberley enjoys unusual produce, strong coffee, road trips and summer nights.