Back in 2008, I posted about a magical, mysterious way to eat persimmons. The recipe was simple: Thinly slice a Fuyu persimmon, dust lightly with cinnamon, and bake in a toaster oven until the edges curl, about 10 minutes. The result is alchemy: the heat brings forth the persimmon's natural sugars to a delicious sweetness and the cinnamon adds just a hint of spice. It's still my favorite way to eat a persimmon. But this year I got to thinking: how would it work with other spices? Read on for the results of my experiment.
I decided to test my magical persimmon recipe using the following new spices: crystalized ginger, 5-spice, fresh nutmeg, cardamon and, for a savory taste, smoked paprika. These are warm, wintery spices and naturally go well with persimmons. At the last minute, I decided to sneak in a wild card: a few pinches of chili flakes for a sweet-heat treat!
First I took two just-ripe Fuyu persimmons and sliced them horizontally into slices. I've found that 1/2 cm slices work the best here, as they are thin enough to roast quickly but thick enough to stay juicy. Then I placed the slices on a foil lined tray (parchment will do, too), sprinkled them my experimental spices, and popped them in to a toaster oven for about 10 minutes. (For regular ovens, try a pre-heated 400 degree oven, checking after five minutes.)
The results were spectacular. All of the spices did wonderfully, coming into their own with the sweetness of the persimmon. While I enjoyed all of them, I found the 5-spice to be my favorite. The complexity of the spice married perfectly with the sweet persimmon flavor. A real winner. The smoked paprika was also a winner, especially when topped with a small slice of creamy blue cheese.
The chili flakes were good, too, but requires further investigation. It needs another flavor to play with the sweet and the heat. Maybe a sprinkling of cilantro or basil? Or something salty like a cheese or some prosciutto? Time to head back into the lab!
For the original persimmon post, go here.
Related: Persimmon Tart
(Images: Dana Velden)