Plum crazy

Maybe I went a teeny bit overboard at the farmers market on Sunday. Is six pounds of stone fruit too much for one person? Hrmm. PlumsWell, I’ve got stone fruit coming out of my ears. Plums were spilling over bowls on my kitchen counter, cherries straining the strength of the colander in the fridge, and I’m all alone here, what with Henning being in Germany and all. Not that I’m complaining or anything, since the fruit is incredibly delicious, but I’ve been looking for creative uses for plums and pluots. There’s only so much a girl can eat out of hand.

I’ve made pluot sorbet and plum-raspberry sorbet and cherry sorbet for an ice cream social that I’m having on Friday (more on that later this week). I’ve made salad with plums, goat cheese, and almonds. I’ve eaten plums on my yogurt, pluots in a smoothie, and lots and lots of them dripping over the sink. And I’ve made this incredible plum salsa. It’s like a symphony. One of those wondrous recipes where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Sweet-tart plums livened by cilantro and lime, cooled with mint, and with just a touch of jalapeño zing in the background. Oh. My. God.

The plum salsa was intended by the good folks at Gourmet to be eaten alongside plum-marinated roasted chicken legs. But since Henning left town, I haven’t so much as looked at a piece of chicken. I’ve been eating seafood like it’s going out of style. Seriously. I have eaten exactly one piece of meat since the beginning of July: a lonely little bbq pork rib on the 4th (the poor thing was quite intimidated by the shrimp army which had laid claim to most of my plate). Since it’s always nicer to eat with some company, I invited my dad over to enjoy the broiled tilapia that I topped with the plum salsa, vaguely taking inspiration from my last meal at the Linkery.

Tilapia with Plum Salsa

Tilapia is a mild white fish that is farm raised and sustainable, and this was actually my first time cooking it. Oh believe you me, as I strolled the fish counter at Whole Paycheck that coquettish Chilean seabass was definitely batting its eyes, leaning into my car window, and asking if I wanted a little company, but I would not be seduced. I have morals, people. At least most of the time. Plus, the tilapia was $8 per pound versus $24 for the seabass, which made the choice quite easy indeed. And it was just fine for a weeknight dinner. Tilapia won’t win any medals for supreme flavor or richness, but it has a decent texture and is mild enough to be suited to an infinite variety of accompaniments. In this case, that fantastic plum salsa.

If you’re curious about sustainable seafood and want to learn more, check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch website. You can see regional lists of what to avoid and what to eat, as well as download a pocket-sized list to carry with you in the store. That way, you can match up the best choices from an eco point of view with the best choices from a freshness point of view.

Broiled Tilapia with Plum Salsa

2 tbs olive oil, divided
4 tilapia filets, about 6 oz each
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 recipe plum salsa (recipe follows)
4 lime wedges

Preheat the broiler in your oven. Grease a baking sheet with one tablespoon of the olive oil. Generously sprinkle the tilapia filets with salt and pepper (both sides!) and arrange on the baking sheet. Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over the fish. Broil until just barely cooked through, about 2-4 minutes, depending on the thickness.

Transfer the fish to a serving platter, or to plates, and spoon the plum salsa over. Garnish with lime wedges and serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Plum Salsa
Adapted from Epicurious

6 medium-small ripe plums, pitted and diced
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup finely chopped cilantro
2 tbs finely chopped fresh mint
1/2 jalapeño pepper, minced
juice of 1/2 juicy or 1 not-so-juicy lime
a few pinches of salt
a few pinches of sugar

Put plums in a bowl with onion, cilantro, mint and jalapeno. Stir gently to mix. Add a bit of lime juice, a bit of salt, a bit of sugar and taste. Add more of any of the last three ingredients to taste. If you wish to make this salsa ahead, wait until just before serving to add the lime, salt, and sugar.

5 Comments

  1. Posted July 18, 2007 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    I couldn’t resist the stone fruit either last weekend. I ended up with 2 pounds of cherries and a handful of plums. If you’re still trying to use up the fruit before it goes bad, I made this plum dish last month and loved it.

  2. theotheraverett
    Posted July 19, 2007 at 5:38 am | Permalink

    I am SO envious of the stone fruit available out there. There’s a definite lack of orchards nearby, so I don’t have the opportunity to gorge myself on plums, apricots, and cherries. All of the semi-local (Georgia and South Carolina) peaches were ruined by a late-spring freeze, so I’m feeling even more despair.

  3. Posted July 19, 2007 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    The tilapia and salsa look absolutely delicious! You can get inexpensive tilapia at 99 Ranch. You can also get them live if you want (that is until they kill and clean it for you). I’m too cheap to shop at Whole Foods except for items that can’t be found anywhere else.

  4. Posted July 19, 2007 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    Kim – looks yummy!

    Laurel – I know.. but I’m sure you’ll be getting great apples come fall!

    Howie – Thanks for the tip! I’m always a little wary of 99 Ranch’s seafood counter.. it sometimes smells a bit fishy, but with the fresh tilapia that shouldn’t be a worry. Yeah, I hate to shop at Whole Foods, but it’s the only place nearby. I don’t like buying meat or fish from Ralphs (it’s nearly as pricey and not nearly as fresh!), and I didn’t have time to defrost from TJ’s.

  5. Aiyana Kachmarek
    Posted April 23, 2009 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    mmmmmmm….. every thing looks yumy! what great ideas!


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