Today is Rosh Hashanah, which literally translates to the “head of the year,” so today is the first day of the Jewish New Year. It is a time of inner renewal and divine atonement. Rosh Hashanah actually began at sundown yesterday and today many are in temple or at home observing the holiday. which ends at sundown on Wednesday (though not all Jews celebrate the holiday for two days).
For those observing Rosh Hashanah, the traditional greeting is the Hebrew phrase, “shana tova” or “l’shana tova,” which means “good year” or “for a good year,” but it’s also perfectly acceptable for non-Jews (like me) to say Happy New Year.
One of my family’s favorite parts of holiday is the ritual of eating something sweet to symbolize our hope for a good, sweet new year. Apples dipped in honey are a holiday staple. But this year, to mix it up a bit, we asked Buzz contributor Deborah Brooks for a suggestion. Deborah has cooked up a sweet side dish that’s perfect for the holiday and reflects the delicious fall fruits now available at our local Larchmont Farmers Market. It’s a great way to celebrate the Rosh Hashanah holiday.
Thanks to Deborah and Shana Tovah!
Persimmon, Cucumber and Fig Salad
What a marvel of exotic produce our beloved Larchmont Farmer’s Market has become! A cook’s dream to create dishes that pique the palate by incorporating unique varieties of well-known fruits and vegetables into recipes. Every week I find something new.
As this week is Rosh Hashanah, I decided to make a sweet side salad. Perusing the tables and bins, I chose chocolate persimmons or maru variety, dinosaur egg cucumbers, black and green figs, and red walnuts. You don’t find those items at the grocery store!
Staring at my haul in the kitchen, I let the food tell me what to create. Crazy? Maybe. Successful? Yes! Oranges and basil immediately came to mind. So I created a dressing using fresh squeezed orange juice as well as the zest, sweet tangerine balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, and basil. Simple, easy, refreshing, delicious. And a company ready sweet side dish to bring in the Jewish New Year.
I do hope that you’ll step outside of your cooking comfort zone and add new items to your home cooked meals. Your family and friends will be amazed. Mine were!
Happy New Year to those who celebrate.
Please note that you can replace the chocolate persimmons with regular fuyu and the dinosaur egg cucumbers with persian, if you can’t find the more exotic varieties.
Persimmon, Cucumber and Fig Salad
8 chocolate persimmons, firm not soft, sliced into thick wedges
5 dinosaur egg cucumbers, sliced into thin wedges
15 red walnuts, meat cracked out of shell
¼ cup packed basil leaves, chopped
12 green and black figs, sliced in half
Extra basil and walnuts for presentation
Toss the persimmons, cucumbers, walnuts and basil in a large mixing bowl. Pour in half of the dressing and toss. Add by the tablespoonful until you get the right amount of dressing for your taste. In a separate bowl, gently toll the figs with a bit of dressing. Add them at the end and toss, as they are very delicate. Top with more walnuts and fresh chopped basil for presentation.
zest and juice of 2 sweet naval oranges
2 T tangerine or orange balsamic vinegar
½ tsp salt
6 T good EVOO
Whisk together the orange zest, orange juice, balsamic vinegar and salt until combined. Slowly whisk in the EVOO until combined. Taste for seasoning.