Every summer, I look forward to buying locally grown stone fruit from Mark at Maple Leaf Orchard. I’ve been a regular at the St Paul Farmer’s Market for many years, and I’ve always sought out his unique offerings, including tart cherries, a few varieties of plums and pears, red and black currants, gooseberries, apples, and more. One of the most valuable things that we get from buying directly from the farmer is a connection to the growing season in our area. There have been years when a late frost killed the buds on the trees, wiping out one or more of his fruit crops. This has been the year of the drought, but the trees were spared a bud-nipping freeze so we are reaping the fruits of his labor.
It’s Easy to Grill Plums and Other Stone Fruits
After we’ve eaten our fill of the juicy fruits au naturel, I like to move to the grill. Just a few minutes on the hot grates softens and sweetens the fruit. Then they are ready for this salad. I always place them cut side down at first, to get a little marking on the surface and start the cooking, then flip them. Then, the skin of the fruit holds the juices in, keeping the fruit from exploding and losing all it’s sweet liquids to the fire. This time, I sprinkled with a little cinnamon.
Grilled Plums Are Versatile
Once you master the art of grilling plums, you can use the same technique for nectarines and peaches, they just take a few seconds longer.
Of course you can use the fruit for more than salads. Sprinkle a little organic sugar or maple on after the first turn, and they become dessert. Hot, grilled plums with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or yogurt are the pinnacle of summer desserts. Pile them on pizza, or make them into a fruity salsa, and you can’t go wrong.
Grilled Plum Salad with Pistachios and Mint
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 pinch cinnamon plus more for plums
- 1 pinch black pepper
- 5 ounces red and green leaf lettuce
- 1/2 cup fresh mint torn
- 2 scallion diagonally sliced
- 8 small plums
- avocado oil for brushing
- 1/2 cup toasted pistachio nuts coarsely chopped
- Preheat the grill, scrape it well.Whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, maple syrup, salt, cinnamon and pepper, reserve.
- Build a salad on a platter with lettuce on the bottom, then sprinkle with mint and scallions.
- Use a paring knife to cut the plums in half, cutting them away from the pit. Place on a plate, skin side down, and brush with avocado oil.Use tongs to dip a wadded paper towel in avocado oil and brush the hot grill, then place the plums, cut side down, on the hot grill. Grill for 2-3 minutes, until marked and softened. Use tongs to turn the plum halves, then cook for a couple of minutes to finish cooking. Transfer to a plate to cool.
- To serve, arrange the plums over the salad and sprinkle with pistachios, drizzle with dressing. Serve immediately.