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Late Summer Fruits

Five Fuyu persimmons on a white surface
Fuyu persimmons. Photo by Eliza Adam via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

You don't have to look far at your favorite farmers market to find delicious fruit these days. Apples, peaches, pears and plums are all around us. However in coming weeks, if you look a little closer you may just spot a few less conventional items. Chef Jerry Pellegrino is quite a fan of some of the undeservedly obscure fruits.

In particular there are three fruits that deserve attention, and each has its own outstanding attributes; we are talking about persimmons, quinces and Asian pears.

Here are some great ideas Jerry came up with for exploiting these delicious tree fruits.

Persimmon, Beet and Citrus Salad

Ingredients

3 bunches assorted small pink, yellow, and red beets (about 2 pounds total)

8 assorted citrus fruits, such as Ruby Red grapefruits, Cara Cara oranges, and tangerines (about 4 pounds total)

5 ripe but firm Fuyu persimmons, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch wedges

2 heads Belgian endive, leaves separated

1 bunch watercress, tough stems removed (2 cups)

1/4 cup red-wine vinegar

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Wrap beets in parchment-lined foil (each color in a separate packet). Place on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until knife-tender, about 45 minutes. When cool enough to handle, rub beets with paper towels to remove skins. Cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds.

Remove peels and pits from citrus fruits with a sharp knife. Working over a small bowl to catch juices, carefully cut between membranes to remove segments. Squeeze juice from membranes into bowl.

Arrange beets, citrus segments, persimmons, endive, and watercress on a platter. In a bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons reserved citrus juices and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in oil. Drizzle vinaigrette over salad just before serving.

Poached Quince by David Lebovitz

Crunchy Kale and Asian Pear Salad with Granola

Creamy Shallot Dressing

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 small shallot, roughly chopped (about a heaping 1/4 cup)

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon cultured dairy-free yogurt (or greek yogurt if not dairy-free)

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

Freshly ground pepper

Salad

4 cups chopped kale

1 Asian pear, diced

1 cup cooked quinoa

4 to 5 tablespoons honey granola clusters

1/4 cup chopped parsley

Make the dressing. Place dressing ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until the ingredients are broken down and emulsified. Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed.

Place the dressing in a lidded jar and refrigerate until ready to use.

Prepare the salad. In a large bowl, combine the kale and 1 tablespoon of the shallot dressing and massage the kale for roughly 5 minutes, until the kale is tender and darker in color. Let the kale sit for 10 minutes, then add the pear, quinoa, granola, parsley, and about 3 to 4 tablespoons of dressing. Toss together and add more dressing if desired. Serve or refrigerate for up to 7 hours before serving.

Al Spoler, well known to WYPR listeners as the wine-loving co-host of "Cellar Notes" has had a long-standing parallel interest in cooking as well. Al has said, the moment he started getting serious about Sunday night dinners was the same moment he started getting serious about wine. Over the years, he has benefited greatly from being a member of the Cork and Fork Society of Baltimore, a gentlemen's dining club that serves black tie meals cooked by the members themselves who are some of Baltimore's most accomplished amateur cooks.
Executive Chef Jerry Pellegrino of Corks restaurant is fascinated by food and wine, and the way they work in harmony on the palate. His understanding of the two goes all the way to the molecular level, drawing on his advanced education in molecular biology. His cuisine is simple and surprising, pairing unexpected ingredients together to work with Corks' extensive wine offerings.