Recently, I was one of 20 bloggers asked to try cooking a dish with Persimon®, a sweet, melony-tasting fruits straight from Spain.
Now it’s no secret that I’m not an amazing cook. I could likely whip something together once upon a time, back when I worked at my father’s restaurant, but whatever budding skills I once had as a chef have long since vanished, leaving me to give culinary arts another start from scratch — something I hope to tackle in 2015.
But a promise’s a promise, and with the help of my wonderful wife Sarah, we proceed to try to make one of the suggested Persimon® recipes — the Persimon® and Chorizo Pizza.
…key word “try”, but we’ll get to that later.
Persimon® Says “Eat Us! We’re Delicious!”
So before the Persimon® was delivered to my door by a man who clearly wondered how shi-shi I was to get fruit imported fresh from Ribera del Xúquer, Spain sent directly to me (I mean — why couldn’t I hit the grocery story like normal people?), I had no idea that people wouldn’t know what persimmons were. But with Sarah’s quizzical look as she examined our new ingredients, I figured it best to start with a Persimon® 101.
The Heck is a Persimon®?
Right — so the persimmon you may have come across at some point grows on the Diospyros kaki, as it has for the past 2,000 years or so. This one in particular hails from Spain’s Ribera del Xúquer region near Valencia, where it spawned a local variety — the “Rojo Brillante”, which was later renamed to Persimon® and given a special designation of origin status by the Spanish government! The fruit’s value chain production is strictly monitored to ensure that Spain exports only the very best Persimon®.
But it’s only in market from October through January, meaning consumers need to act quick if they want to get any!
We only needed a couple of Persimon® for our recipe, so knowing the fruit was seedless and sweet, we gave it to our 13-month old son as a breakfast treat, and he took to it! (Except when he didn’t, but he’s 13 months old — what do you expect?) As a parent, I want to make sure he’s eating good stuff, so it’s good to know that Persimon® has 7 essential nutrients, is high in fibre, and is a good source of vitamin A, manganese, magnesium, potassium, folate, vitamin C and vitamin K! It’s also about 120 calories — whatever that means. (We don’t even own a scale in our house!)
But while it might taste sweet, with a flavour somewhere between a mango or a peach, how does it fare on pizza?
500g pizza dough
2 Persimon®, thinly sliced crosswise
2 tbsp (30 ml) lemon juice
1 cup (250 ml) thinly sliced spicy chorizo
½ cup (125 ml) shaved Manchego cheese
2 tsp (10 ml) balsamic glaze
2 cups (500 ml) baby arugula
1 tsp (5 ml) olive oil
pinch salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 425˚F.
On a lightly oiled work surface divide dough in half. Roll and stretch halves to form 2- 9” x 15” rectangles. Transfer rectangles to parchment lined baking sheets.
Toss Persimon® slices with lemon juice and arrange on dough, top with chorizo slices.
Bake in preheated for 10-15 minutes until crust is golden brown.
Remove from oven, sprinkle with shaved cheese and drizzle with balsamic glaze. Toss arugula with oil, salt and pepper and top on pizzas just before serving.
At least we had the right idea.
If you haven’t guessed by now, Sarah’s the resident culinary expert at Casa de Palmer, pretty much the sole reason we’re all still alive to this day.
Now while I’m a pizza traditionalist — a pepperoni pie will suit me just fine — my taste buds hold a deep love or chorizo, so this recipe seemed like a no-brainer! To quote the Persimon® website,
Pizza has become a universal food, delighting the palates of all ages. The delightful texture and sweetness of Persimon® pairs beautifully with spicy chorizo and elevates this appetizer, or main, to more sophisticated level befitting any holiday occasion.
Procuring the various ingredients we needed to make this happen while I delved in to the basement crawl space for some painting supplies (because teamwork), Sarah immediately regretted that we didn’t have the time to make our own dough from scratch. The stuff we got was clearly not cooperating, stubborn and refusing to spread to the tray’s edges for maximum coverage.
After getting the dough as ready as possible, the rest was pretty easy — slicing the Persimon®; adding the chorizo; sprinkling with asiago cheese (as Manchego was sold out) — it’s not like it’s a hard recipe.
But it’s definitely a subjective one.
“Bake until crust is golden brown” didn’t pan out so hot – when we got the pizza out, though it looked good, we could tell it was undercooked, and though the toppings were delicious, ultimately, our efforts were for naught.
Or maybe we just don’t know a thing about making pizza, who knows.
Even if You Don’t Make Pizza, There’s Still Something You Can Get Out of This!
Anyway, pizza or not, at least Persimon® is holding a contest for a one-week stay in Valencia, Spain, including airfare and accommodations! (Open to Canadian residents, excluding Quebec.) You should make it your New Year’s resolution to enter, since it’s only running ’til January 31st!
So if you’re looking for a new fruit to try and some recipes to pair it with, give the Persimon®a whirl — heck, maybe your creation will turn out better than ours did!
Good luck and bon appétit,
Disclaimer: I got some Persimon® and a bit of incentive to go out and buy some groceries!