Alongside her life as a writer, art critic and co-founder of design brand, Permanent Collection, Fanny Singer has always had an aptitude for honouring ingredients, savouring seasonal flavours and sharing culinary experiences.
At the beginning of the year, Fanny published her poignant story of a life defined and enriched by cooking, Always Home: A Daughter's Culinary Memoir. Fanny distills the importance of nurturing ourselves through real food, sharing recipes that have enriched her travels and relationships, alongside vignettes on growing up with the celebrated American chef, sustainable food pioneer, and activist Alice Waters as her mother.
Ahead of Thanksgiving for our Time to Make series, Fanny shares with us her mother's Thanksgiving salad of bitter greens, sliced persimmon, pomegranate and toasted hazelnuts - always served by Alice at the end of the long repast. Everyone groans and says they're too full, Fanny tells us. But then they all take a pile of leaves and love it. 'It's a digestif!' my mom trills as she dispenses it.
INGREDIENTS, to serve 4-6
2 big heads of lettuce (ideally a mix of one or more variety: escarole, butter, treviso, radicchio, for example)
1 large Fuyu persimmon
1 large pomegranate, the seeds removed and set aside
1-2 medium candy (chiogga) beets or watermelon radish
1/2 cup of hazelnuts
1/3 cup of parsley leaves, plucked from stems
1 clove of garlic
Red or white wine vinegar (or celery vinegar)
Extra virgin olive oil
Break your heads of lettuce apart into leaves and wash in plenty of cold water. Drain, and roll the leaves in a large linen or cotton towel to dry. Place in the refrigerator until ready to assemble the salad.
Toss your hazelnuts in a splash of oil and a big sprinkle of salt and toast in the oven at 180 degrees celsius until light brown. Be careful not to burn them. Set aside to cool completely, then coarsely chop.
Pound a clove of garlic with a big pinch of salt in the bowl of a Japanese suribachi or mortar until completely pureed. Cover with a splash of vinegar and the juice of half a lemon. Set aside.
Use a mandolin or a very sharp chef's knife to slice your persimmon thinly, keeping the skin on. Peel your beet or radish with a vegetable peeler and slice into thin rounds (again with a mandolin, if using) to show a cross-section of their vivid interior.
Whisk olive oil into the garlic-vinegar mix (about 1 part acid to 2 parts oil) until it tastes balanced but still bright. Add freshly ground black pepper, and more salt, if needed.
Spread your leaves out in a wide, shallow bowl, array with sliced vegetables and fruit. Toss in half the vinaigrette to start, using your hands. Add more dressing if necessary, being careful to not overly saturate your leaves.
Before serving, make sure some of the beets or radishes and persimmon are visible toward the top, scatter pomegranate seeds, chopped hazelnuts, and parsley leaves. Serve!
Images courtesy of Brigitte Lacombe and Fanny Singer.