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Perthshire chef gets up close and personal with persimmon fruits

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Tim Dover, chef patron of The Roost in Bridge of Earn, finds out more about the persimmon fruit.

I am always looking to discover new ingredients and experiment with them. The closure of my restaurant due to the lockdown has left me with a little more time on my hands and so I have been trying to keep myself inspired and entertained in my kitchen at home.

It was with great delight that I discovered a new fruit (to me) when last at the supermarket – the persimmon.

Originally from China, persimmon trees have been grown for thousands of years for their delicious fruit and beautiful wood. Their orange-coloured fruits are known for their sweet, honey-like flavour. There are two types of them, Fuyu and Hayicha. The Fuyu you can eat like an apple and is short, squat, and firm.

Tim Dover.

The Hayicha you must ripen until it is squishy, and then you eat or use the pulp and looks like a large orange acorn. These fruits can be enjoyed fresh as a simple snack or used in delicious recipes. In fact, they pair excellently with both sweet and savoury foods.

Here are some ways to add persimmons to your diet:

• Slice persimmons onto a salad for a flavourful addition.

• Top your morning yogurt or oatmeal with fresh or cooked persimmon for a burst of natural sweetness.

• Roast persimmons in the oven and drizzle with honey for a tasty and healthy dessert.

• Mix dried or fresh persimmon into muffin, bread or cake mix.

• Combine with berries and citrus fruits for a delicious fruit salad.

• Chargrill and serve with baked Brie for a tasty starter.

• Bake persimmons with chicken or meat to make a unique flavour combination.

• Throw frozen persimmons into your favourite smoothie recipe for extra nutrients.

Why not try this tasty salad recipe – it serves two.

To make Thai persimmon and beef salad with coriander and mint you’ll need: 1 tbsp grapeseed oil; 500g beef fillet; 3 persimmons; 1 red onion; 80g mint leaves; 1 bunch coriander.

For the dressing you’ll need: 2 cloves garlic; 3cm ginger; 2 tsp palm sugar; 3 tbsp lime juice.

Heat a frying pan while trimming the steak of any fat. Add the oil and cook the steak over a high heat for 3 minutes on each side, season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and set aside.

Make the dressing by peeling and crushing the garlic, peel and grate the ginger then combine with the sugar, lime juice and fish sauce. Stir to dissolve the sugar.

Peel and slice the persimmons. Slice the steak and arrange with the persimmons, on serving plates with thin slices of onion, mint leaves, and roughly chopped coriander. Generously drizzle over the dressing and serve.

Chef’s tip

The two varieties of persimmons differ greatly in their astringency. So, for persimmons, the Hachiya variety is the astringent of the two. So, Hachiya persimmons should not be eaten before they are totally softened – you know a Hachiya is ready to eat when it feels like a water balloon or an over-ripe tomato. Fuyu persimmons are far less astringent than their Hachiya counterpart. This means that Fuyu persimmons can also be enjoyed while still firm (as well as when they are soft), making then ideal for desserts or salads.

More in this series:

Clementines are just perfect for creating a Christmas cracker of a dessert


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