During the holiday season, we keep this quick persimmon appetizer in heavy rotation because it’s sweet-salty perfection. The combination of fuyu persimmons, fried sage, and fresh goat cheese (aka chevre) brings all the fall flavors and is a shoo-in for a holiday party. Also, it is so easy to put together it’s anything but stressful.
We tapped one of our favorite food friends, Lillian Kang, for this recipe. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Lillian’s food always focuses on seasonal, local flavors with a modern, elegant take. Thanks to her career as a recipe developer and food stylist (she tested and styled Keys To The Kitchen!), she knows what works and doesn’t work for the home cook.
Translation? She knows the importance of easy appetizer recipes during the holiday time of year, and this Fried Sage and Goat Cheese Persimmon Appetizer Recipe doesn’t disappoint.
About This Easy Persimmon Appetizer
This easy persimmon appetizer makes a great addition to a cocktail party, a holiday gathering, or Thanksgiving. This savory persimmon recipe has ripe fruit, fried sage leaves, fresh goat cheese (aka chevre), olive oil, and flaky salt. Combining the fried sage with the crumbled goat cheese and crisp persimmon gives it great texture and even better flavor. These tasty bites are made with only five ingredients, but they bring the flavor so you can add it to your arsenal of quick appetizers that make a good impression.
A few of our favorite combinations of flavors with persimmons include balsamic vinegar, prosciutto, hot honey, and tangy cheese (like we’ve used in these goat cheese bites). But before we go any further, let’s dive into the specifics of persimmons.
Types of Persimmons
You’ll see persimmons at your farmers market or grocery store during the fall. In California, we get persimmons in the market from mid-October through December, which means they appear on our tables from Halloween to Thanksgiving and New Year’s.
Depending on the variety of persimmon, you’ll want to treat them differently. The two main varieties of persimmons in the United States are hachiya and fuyu. Fuyu persimmons are shaped squat and rounded like a tomato and are best eaten firm. We remember this because Fuyu and firm both start with “f!” Meanwhile, the Hachiya is a larger, teardrop-shaped persimmon that is very soft when ripe (think an overripe banana or avocado).
How To Tell When A Persimmon Is Ripe
When you buy persimmons at the store, they likely will need to ripen further. To do so, leave them on your kitchen counter. The fuyu persimmon will be dark orange with no green (but still firm) when ripe, while the Hachiya persimmon will be very soft to the touch.
An unripe Hachiya persimmon has an astringent flavor, so let it fully ripen. You can store them in the refrigerator once ripe to extend their life. We like to eat Hachiya persimmon pulp right from the fruit or freeze the fruit and eat the pulp like an easy sorbet.
What Does A Persimmon Taste Like?
When we serve the recipe, we often get asked what persimmon tastes like. The Fuyu persimmon has an interesting flavor that reminds me of maple syrup and pumpkin with the crunch or apple, while the hachiya has more of a honeyed flavor. The flavor is subtle, so you don’t want to overwhelm them.
While fuyu persimmons are often used for persimmon crostini, persimmon salsa, or a persimmon salad recipe, the Hachiya persimmon pulp is used to make persimmon jam, persimmon muffins, or persimmon pudding.
How To Cut A Persimmon
If you’re wondering how to cut a persimmon, the easiest way is with a sharp paring knife. The fuyu persimmon (the firm one) can be cut into wedges like an apple or sliced into rounds like a tomato for a sandwich. The Hachiya persimmon will be really soft when ripe so you’ll simply cut off the top with a sharp knife and then scoop out the pulp and proceed as called for in the recipe you’re using.
How To Store Fresh Sage
One of the best ways to store fresh sage (or any fresh herbs, for that matter) is with an herb keeper like this one from Cole & Mason. We keep all our herbs in water in this, and they last significantly longer than any other method. If you’re in a pinch, you can wrap herbs in a paper towel and then put them in a resealable bag in your produce drawer, but they still won’t last anywhere as long as you use this herb keeper.
More Persimmon Recipe Ideas
When it comes to persimmon recipes, we have a LOT for you to try. Here are a few favorites around here:
- Spiced Persimmon Old Fashioned Cocktail Recipe
- Dutch Baby Pancake with Caramelized Persimmons Recipe
- Speck-Wrapped Persimmons With Balsamic Vinegar Reduction Recipe
- Persimmon Burrata Caprese Salad Recipe
- Pomegranate Persimmon Arugula Wild Rice Salad Recipe
- Caramelized Persimmons Roast Pork Loin Recipe
- Spiced Persimmon Pudding Recipe
Fried Sage and Goat Cheese Persimmon Appetizer Recipe
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 30 small fresh sage leaves
- 4 medium ripe Fuyu persimmons
- 4 ounces fresh goat cheese (aka chèvre) crumbled
- Sea salt for garnish
- Fry The Sage Leaves: Line a plate with paper towels. Heat the oil in a small frying pan over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add 5 to 6 leaves and fry until crisp, about 15 seconds. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, remove leaves and drain on a paper towel-lined plate, sprinkle with flaky salt, and set aside. Repeat to fry all the sage.TIP: Make the fried sage up to 2 days ahead. Store at room temperature in an airtight sealed container.
- Assemble The Persimmon Bites: Trim the ends of each persimmon then carefully slice it into 6 (1/8-inch) thick rounds. Arrange persimmon slices on a serving platter then crumble the goat cheese across the slices, and garnish with some fried sage, a drizzle of the frying oil, and a pinch of sea salt and serve.