Friday, August 10, 2007
The Color Purple
The plums in the market right now are so lush, the skin so purple it's almost black. I love the flavor dichotomy of ripe plums — the first bite of skin and fruit is tart, but as you get closer to the pit, the flesh gets sweeter. There are 2,000 varieties of plums, but only about 20 types are generally sold in the U.S., several of which were available at Publix. I grabbed a few classic purple ones, red ones, a green one and even a red-flecked pluot, which is a cross-breed of a plum and an apricot.
I got home and realized that, on impulse, I'd gotten far too many and they'd probably be overripe before I could eat them all. I decided to cut them into chunks and mix them with some cantaloupe, some fresh lime juice, mint and a touch of sugar for a salad. The combination of the flavors and textures of the different plums made for a lovely mix. The smaller, green ones are tart and firm, while the darker ones are sweet and softer. The melon added another layer of flavor, while the lime and mint added some depth. You could certainly sub out the cantaloupe for honeydew, and add in some peaches, blueberries or any other summery fruit you think would work well. This keeps well in the fridge — I ate it for three days and it was just as good (if not better) the second and third day.
Plum and Melon Salad
makes about 2 1/2 cups
1 or 2 medium purple plums, pitted and cubed
1 small green plum, pitted and cubed
1 medium red plum, pitted and cubed
1 pluot, pitted and cubed
1/4 t0 1/2 cantaloupe, peeled and cubed
Juice of one small lime
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon fresh chopped mint
Combine everything in a large bowl, toss to coat fruit in juice and sugar. Cover and refrigerate at least 1/2 hour. Stir before serving. Keeps up to four days, refrigerated.