Boneless Pork Chop with a Persimmon and Pomegranate Salsa

PorkPersimmonFirm Fuyus 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. This time 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 (which Jeff had and loved last night).

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

Persimmon and Pomegranate Salsa
Serves 4

Makes about 1 1/4-1 1/2 cups

2 Fuyu persimmons, with the skins on, diced (about 1 heaping cup)
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
2 Tbsp thinly sliced scallions
1 tsp fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
Salt, to taste
1/2 tsp fresh mint, finely chopped
1/2 tsp fresh basil, finely chopped

4 boneless pork chops
1 Tbsp 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, then 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.)
Note: If you don't prefer the intensity of raw onions, then place the minced onions 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.

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, do what I did: 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 pork chops on top of cooked quinoa or couscous, then top with 1/4 of the salsa. Repeat with remaining 3 dishes. Garnish with additional herbs, if desired. A simple green salad with a light vinaigrette would be a nice accompaniment.


Susan Russo is a free lance food writer in San Diego, California. She publishes stories, recipes, and photos on her cooking blog, <Food Blogga and is a regular contributor to NPR’s <Kitchen Window. She is also the author of  Recipes Every Man Should Know and The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches.