At Beast & Bottle  last week, I ordered the persimmon caprese. This lovely salad, which alternated slices of the winter fruit  with fresh mozzarella, did everything right: It highlighted the ingredient’s delicate, aromatic flesh while coaxing out its sweetness with a drizzle of honey.
I grew up with persimmons. Every holiday season, my mom would render the astringent orbs into steamed pudding. Now, when I see Fuyus (pictured) or Hachiyas advertised on a menu, the ingredient tugs at my heartstrings. Inevitably I do two things: 1. I order the dish and 2. I run to the grocery story to stock up.
In addition to Beast & Bottle, I've seen the fruit show up at a handful of restaurants: On Session Kitchen 's opening menu, chef Scott Parker ran a (now gone) persimmon–hot pepper slaw. At TAG Restaurant , chef-owner Troy Guard pairs a Szechuan-style duck breast with lemongrass gnocchi, roasted sunchokes, and a Brussels sprout-persimmon salad. Bones ' chef John Depierro serves persimmon jam atop roasted bone marrow with escargot and watercress gremolata.
As for the fruit I pick up at the market, I turn to magazines and cookbooks for inspiration. This year that means Bon Appétit ’s recipe for persimmons with Greek yogurt and pistachios , and Sunset 's fall greens persimmon salad .
The fruit also graces the cover of the A.O.C. Cookbook , renowned Los Angeles chef Suzanne Goin's new release. Inside there are recipes for smoked black cod with endive, lemon cream, and persimmons; as well as persimmon cake with crème fraîche and maple pecans. Clearly, the ingredient is versatile and one worth getting to know. Whether tossed fresh in a dish, baked into a dessert, or simply arranged as a centerpiece, persimmons signal the bounty of the winter season.
Bonus: Watch Suzanne Goin plate grilled orata with cauliflower, fregola, and persimmon-pomegranate salsa here .
—Image via Shutterstock