What to do with persimmons other than just enjoy their soft texture and subtle spicy sweetness was my question. I don’t much care for a traditional winter persimmon pudding. It’s not glamorous.
The persimmon has been a fabled Asian fruit for eons and was a staple among exotic foods traded along the spice routes of the Silk Road that connected the Orient with Europe. That thought journey brought me to Persia, the ancient middle east and finally to the shores of the eastern Mediterranean with its seafood. Not a surprising thought journey since I’m often drawn to those cuisines when food dreaming.
Persimmons are readily available in many good produce sections during the winter months and in upscale food markets most of the year. Although best eaten raw when very ripe and soft, since this persimmon is oven roasted for this recipe a not quite ripe fruit is best. Lobster and persimmon is not a food pairing I’ve previously enjoyed, but the subtle sweetness that’s the tone of both foods intrigued me and blend well.
Broiled Lobster on Roasted Persimmon Cream
Ingredients for the persimmon cream:
- 2 cups half & half or light cream
- ½ of a fresh vanilla bean
- 1 persimmon – ripe but not too soft
- 1/8th teaspoon ground mace
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Place the whole unpeeled persimmon on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool until comfortable to handle.
- Pour cream in the top of a bain marie set over simmering water. If you do not have a double boiler/bain marie then use a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Scald the cream (155° F. on a candy thermometer or until a ring of small bubbles form on the edge of the cream, and it’s slightly steaming.)
- As the cream is heating, cut the length of the vanilla bean in half and return the unused half to a tightly closed container. With a sharp thin knife, slice the other half lengthwise and scrape the seeds onto the cutting board.
- Once the cream has scalded, remove the top portion of the bain marie with the cream, or the pan, from the heat. Pour into a bowl and stir in the vanilla seeds, split pods and the mace. Allow the vanilla to steep for at least one hour or cover and chill up to 24-hours.
- (Both the cream and roasted persimmon may be made a day in advance and kept chilled until ready for use.)
- When ready to use the cream, strain through a fine sieve or cheesecloth into the top of a bain marie or into a heavy saucepan and gently heat while preparing the lobster tails.
- With a paring knife, score the persimmon into sections and remove the skin of the roasted persimmon. Roughly dice the persimmon and place in a blender. With the blender on low add the cream through the lid. Blend until a smooth sauce.
Ingredients for the lobster:
- 4 – 5 to 8 oz. lobster tails
- 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 4 teaspoons melted sweet butter
- Sea salt & white pepper to taste
- Preheat broiler to high.
- With scissors cut the soft underside shell of each tail lengthwise but don’t slit the meat. With your hands bend open the shell and run a sharp knife between the meat and the shell to loosen the lobster, but leave in the shell.
- Place the lobster tails on a broiler rack and through the cut shell drizzle each first with a teaspoon of lemon juice then a teaspoon of melted sweet butter.
- Lightly sprinkle with sea salt and white pepper.
- Broil for 6 to 7 minutes.
- Pour a 1/3rd to ½ cup pool of heated persimmon sauce on each plate and top with a lobster tail. (option: dust with a little ground nutmeg)
Since it was the persimmon that sparked creating this recipe, my affinity to Silk Road flavors and ingredients required a suitable vegetable pairing. Combining both a staple and the sweet and savory tones of spice route cuisine, my Saffron Rice with Orange, Pistachios and Almonds gleam with color and flavor.
As for wine pairings, the citrusy tones of a top quality chardonnay or pinot grigio and the spicy aromatics of a gerwurztraminer will compliment the complex yet subtle flavors of both recipes.