My Castelfranco radicchio persimmon salad with blue cheese and hazelnuts makes a delicious fall salad with contrasting flavors and textures.
When persimmon season hits, we buy about 10 pounds a week. Both the Fuyu and Hachiya varieties grace our kitchen counter. The Fuyu get thrown into salads and eaten as a snack while the Hachiya go into bread, cakes, and sorbet once they soften and their astringent taste disappears. One fall salad that goes into regular rotation is my radicchio persimmon salad with blue cheese and hazelnuts. The sweetness of persimmon brings a nice contrast to the slightly bitter radicchio, tangy blue cheese, and crunchy hazelnuts.
- Radicchio: for this salad, I used Castelfranco Radicchio, a beautiful, old Italian heirloom with cream-colored splashed with wine red. With tender leaves, they taste much milder than the more common deep purple Chioggia radicchio. It’s my favorite out of all the radicchios. I even bought some seeds from Baker Creek to grow next year. If you can’t find Castelfranco, Chioggia (round) or Treviso (spear-shaped) varieties also work. If you use Chioggia or Treviso, cut the leaves into ribbons to combat the bitterness.
- Persimmon: choose Fuyu persimmons that are ripe but still firm. You want them to retain their crunch for this salad. Avoid Hachiya persimmons as they need to be fully ripen and soft for their astringent taste to disappear.
- Blue cheese: there’s a whole spectrum of blue cheese. I like the milder ones like Gorgonzola and Danish Blue. Stilton and Roquefort tend to be stronger. Goat cheese is a great substitute if you’re not keen on blue cheese.
- Hazelnuts: I used hazelnuts for this salad as we always keep hazelnuts in our pantry for baking. Walnuts, pecans, and almonds also work well.
How to Make the Salad Dressing
The salad dressing is a simple mixture of olive oil, red wine vinegar, honey, sea salt, and freshly ground pepper. Whisk everything together and season it to your taste. If you like heat, add in a pinch of Aleppo pepper or use hot honey.
With their beautiful orange color, persimmons bring a beautiful contrast to the Castelfranco radicchio leaves in this fall salad. All the flavors play well together with the blue cheese bringing tang, the persimmon lending sweetness, and the hazelnuts adding nuttiness. Spice up your salad line up with my Castelfranco radicchio persimmon salad while persimmons are in season!
Castelfranco Radicchio Persimmon Salad with Blue Cheese and Hazelnuts
- 1 small head Castelfranco Radicchio, washed, leaves torn
- 4 medium Fuyu persimmons, peeled, halved, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
- 2 ounces blue cheese (Gorgonzola), crumbled
- For dressing, in a bowl whisk olive oil, vinegar, and honey until combined. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
- Tear the Castelfranco leaves into bite-size pieces and place in a large bowl.
- Peel, core and slice persimmons into 1/8-inch-thick. Add to bowl with radicchio leaves.
- Drizzle dressing over radicchio and persimmon and toss to coat.
- Scatter blue cheese and hazelnuts over the top. Serve immediately.