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Fuyu adds color, flavor to salsa for pork chops

Susan Russo

Firm fuyu persimmons can be eaten like an apple; they taste like one too — mildly sweet but with hints of cinnamon. Fuyu persimmons are ideal for savory dishes, such as salads and salsas, where they add color, flavor and texture.

The first time I made this salsa, I used just persimmons and no onion, and I thought it needed a bit more splash. In developing this recipe, I added some savory scallions and tart pomegranate seeds.

It was pleasingly splashier in both taste and presentation. This refreshing salsa pairs especially well with pork, though it would be good with roasted turkey, grilled lamb or a mild white fish, such as mako shark.

Persimmons aren't just pretty, they're nutritional powerhouses too — especially high in potassium, lutein (for ocular health), and lycopene (a cancer fighting antioxidant).

Susan Russo is a freelance food writer and cookbook author who lives in San Diego. She publishes stories, recipes, and photos on her cooking blog, Food Blogga. One for the Table is Amy Ephron's online magazine that specializes in food, politics and love.

Boneless Pork Chop with Persimmon and Pomegranate Salsa

Serves 4.


(makes about 1¼ to 1½ cups):

2 Fuyu persimmons, with the skins on, diced (about 1 heaping cup)

¼ cup pomegranate seeds

2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions (see note)

1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

½ teaspoon rice vinegar

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Salt, to taste

½ teaspoon fresh mint, finely chopped

½ teaspoon fresh basil, finely chopped

4 boneless pork chops

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and pepper

For the salsa, place all ingredients from persimmons through salt in a medium size bowl. Stir until well combined. If serving within an hour, add fresh basil and mint so the flavors will mingle. Otherwise, do not add the herbs (since they will turn brown) and place in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 hours. (Letting the salsa sit much longer makes it taste too astringent.)

For the pork, drizzle the olive oil on both sides of each chop and season with salt and pepper. Either grill the chops or cook on the stove top. Or for the best of both worlds, use a grill pan on the stove top, which creates those attractive sear marks but allows you to stay in the kitchen. Cook for about 5-6 minutes per side, or until well browned and cooked throughout.

Serving suggestion:

Place each pork chop on top of cooked quinoa or couscous, and then top with ¼ of the salsa. Garnish with additional herbs, if desired. A simple green salad with a light vinaigrette would be a nice accompaniment.

Note: If you don't prefer the intensity of raw onions, then place the minced scallions in a small-mesh colander and pour very hot or boiling water over them; drain and add to the salsa. This will remove some of their sting without sacrificing flavor.

Per serving: 342 calories; 16 g fat (5 g saturated fat; 42 percent calories from fat); 18 g carbohydrates; 1 g sugar; 81 mg cholesterol; 352 mg sodium; 29 g protein; 4 g fiber.