Peel the persimmon, slice into 7-8 mm wedges. Chop off the stem end of the shimeji, cut into bite-sized pieces, then sauté in sake and soy sauce. Parboil the spinach, drain excess water, then cut into 2 cm lengths.
Remove excess water by microwaving the tofu, then mash finely. Add sugar, sesame paste, and salt, and stir to a smooth consistency.
Add persimmon, shimeji mushrooms, and spinach, toss together, then serve.
Story Behind this Recipe
This dish often appears at upscale Japanese restaurants (ryotei), but since I don't have much opportunity to go to one, I made my own shira-ae with persimmon.
The key to this recipe is to pre-season the shimeji mushrooms. For optimal results, I recommend mashing the tofu with a mortar and pestle. (Since I don't have a mortar and pestle, I just mashed it finely.) If you prefer more sweetness, add extra persimmon. You can also substitute chrysanthemum leaves for spinach.