Bitter Greens Salad with Spiced Pecans and Persimmons

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 3 minutes
Servings: 8
Buttery pecans coated with a smoky-hot spice mixture accent the bitter winter lettuces in this salad. Sweet yet pleasantly astringent persimmons provide a refreshing counterpoint. Salty and nutty Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese tops off the dish simply with its unique savory taste.


  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 4 Fuyu persimmons
  • 2 Tbs. Champagne vinegar
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil  
  • 2 Tbs. mayonnaise
  • 1/4 lbs. mixed bitter salad greens, such as radicchio, arugula, escarole and frisée  
  • 3 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, at room temperature


In a heavy fry pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the cumin, cinnamon and cayenne and stir until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add the vanilla and a scant 1/4 tsp. salt, stir well and then add the pecans. Cook the pecans, stirring often, until lightly toasted, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Let the spiced pecans cool completely.

Cut the persimmons in half lengthwise, trim off the stem ends and cut the halves into thin slices.

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil and mayonnaise until well blended to make a dressing. Season with salt and pepper.

Place the salad greens in a bowl, drizzle with the dressing and toss to coat evenly. Add the persimmons and spiced pecans to the bowl. Using a vegetable peeler, shave curls of the cheese into the bowl and toss gently. Divide the salad among chilled plates and serve immediately. Serves 8.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma New Flavors for Appetizers, by Amy Sherman (Oxmoor House, 2008).

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