In Season: Autumn Harvest Salad

The selection at our local farmer’s market is confirming that autumn has arrived: piles of romanesco and swiss chard have replaced the stacks of berries and corn, the pomegranates and persimmons are making their first appearance, and root vegetables are showing up in abundance—conveniently, just in time for turning the oven on again.

I wanted to make a dish that would bring all of these flavors together—the sweet of persimmons, the bitter of fresh greens, and the tart of pomegranate seeds, along with the smoky, caramelized flavors of roasted vegetables—and still look pretty in the process. In fact, it could show up on a holiday table, in all of its seasonal glory, and fit right in.

Find the recipe below… 

The Davis Farmer’s Market is just getting its first persimmons—a bright reddish-orange fruit that ripens in fall and early winter. There’s no exact equivalent, but if you can’t find any locally, you could consider substituting plums or some roasted squash.

The beauty of this dish is the way the bitter greens and shallot dressing can bring together whatever is in season locally.

By the way, I’d never seen frisée sold as a full head. Isn’t it gorgeous?

Most of the effort required for a dish like this is in preparing the vegetables. Set aside some time to scrub and peel the root vegetables—I chose turnips and tri-color carrots—while the oven heats up. Seed your pomegranate (here’s how to do it without making a mess), and make the dressing. The rest is mostly waiting: roasting takes up to an hour, so go ahead and bring out the wine.

This is around the time, with the thermometer dipping, that we tend to switch to red wine. When it comes to best wine pairings with the season’s vegetables, there is never a simple answer—and that is especially the case here. Roasting and grilling will caramelize the sugars in vegetables and give them a richness that’s almost meaty, so more savory, tannic reds (like a Merlot or Cabernet) would be just as appropriate as a dry, white wine, or a smoother, fruitier Pinot Noir. October is Sonoma County Wine Month, so naturally we opened a bottle of Frei Brothers Sonoma Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and toasted to the season!

Frei Brothers Sonoma Reserve—a long-standing Sonoma winemaker with whom I’m partnering this year—made for a perfect pairing. We chose the Cabernet Sauvignon for a complexity that would match the dish—fruit flavors of cassis and crushed berries, berries, earthy notes, and firm, velvety tannins.

Autumn Harvest Salad (Adapted from Roasted Root-Vegetable Salad with PersimmonsFood & Wine)


3 Turnips, peeled and sliced

6 Carrots, peeled and sliced

1/2-Cup Extra-virgin Olive Oil

Salt & Freshly ground pepper

2 Medium Shallots, thinly sliced

5 Tablespoons sweet white wine or white vermouth

3 Tablespoons white wine vinegar (red is fine, too)

5 sprigs of fresh thyme

3 Fuyu Persimmons, sliced

One head of Frisée, torn

One Pomegranate for seeds

Note: other root vegetables, like rutabagas or parsnips would also go well. Just add to the roasting pan.

How to Make It

Preheat the oven to 375°. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the turnips and carrots with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Spread in an even layer and season with salt and pepper. Bake for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally, or until just tender. Let cool.

In a small skillet, heat the remaining olive oil. Add the shallots and cook over moderate heat until starting to brown, roughly 6 minutes. Let cool. Stir in the wine, vinegar and thyme. Season with salt and pepper.

Toss the roasted vegetables, persimmons, and frisée with the shallot dressing. Transfer to a platter and top with the pomegranate seeds and a fresh garnish of thyme.

Finally, pour another glass of wine and share!

P.S. Baked Vegetable Chips and snacking on mushrooms & thyme.

This recipe post is sponsored by Frei Brothers Sonoma ReserveThank you for your support! 


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