Did I ever tell you about that time I auditioned for Master Chef 2 with Gordon Ramsey? A few years ago, I showed up for a cold call in Hollywood along with about 800 other people to see if my cooking could get me a place in the competition. We all had to go through a pre-interview, then make our signature dish in the test kitchen on site. We brought our own ingredients and prepared our dishes in unison with the timer ticking away…just like on the show. I went the extra mile and presented my Thanksgiving Salad with a table setting from home complete with a place card for Chef Ramsey. I made it through the round and went on to the next interview. After that, I was axed from the competition and never made it on the show. The one thing that’s endured is the popularity of this recipe–made with fresh persimmons and pomegranate, it’s always a hit and looks beautiful on your holiday table. Happy Cooking & Happy Thanksgiving! ~Nancy Newcomer
Nancy’s Thanksgiving Salad
8 firm fuyu persimmons, sliced
1 pomegranate (use the little “arils” or buy them at Trader Joe’s)
1/4 cup walnuts, broken in pieces
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, torn (not chopped)
Juice from 2–3 limes
4 TB Walnut oil
1/2–1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp French grey sea salt
1/4 cup goat cheese
1 Slice persimmons as shown.
2 Break apart 1 pomegranate (I wear food prep gloves so my hands don’t get stained).
Put fruit (the “arils”) in bowl and set aside.
3 In small bowl, combine lime juice, walnut oil, cumin & sea salt. Mix together and pour over fruit.
4 Gently and carefully toss so not to split open the fruit.
5 Toast walnuts in oven or in pan for a crunch and poppin’ walnut flavor!
6 Sprinkle salad with cilantro & walnuts.
7 Top with goat cheese.
The walnut oil is what makes this stand above the rest. I have made this with extra virgin olive oil and it’s good, but the walnut oil is far superior when it comes to this salad.