Opal plums are oval in shape, dusty purple-pink in colour and sweet with a hint of sour in taste. Here are five recipe ideas to try using the very first plums of the season!
1. Gluten Free Plum Crumble
Slice 500g opal plums in half lengthways around the stone, open it up and remove the stone. In a baking dish, mix the plums with 2 tablespoons of orange juice, 25g caster sugar and 15g plain flour. In a food processor whizz 60g of light brown sugar with 85g coconut flour and 60g cold unsalted butter cut into cubes until the butter is pea-sized. Put the mixture in a bowl and add 30g plain oats (oats are naturally gluten-free but double check the label as some contain traces of gluten due to processing methods), use your hand to blend until the mix resembles breadcrumbs. Sprinkle on top of the plum mix and bake at 180C for 30 minutes. Serve with a dollop of creme fraiche and a few torn fresh mint leaves. Serves 4.
2. Plum, Fennel and Sesame salad
Pit and slice 12 plums and slice into thin wedges. Slice a small fennel bulb as thinly as you can lengthways. Grate a 1 inch piece of ginger and mix with the juice of ½ an orange, 2 teaspoons of runny honey and a pinch of sea salt. Add the plums and fennel to the dressing in a bowl and chill for 30 minutes so the flavours can mingle. Spread the salad out onto a platter, top with 2 teaspoons of toasted sesame seeds and a drizzle of olive oil. If you’d like a little more crunch add some shredded cabbage or kohlrabi chopped into matchsticks. Serves 4.
3. Whole Roast Duck with Plums
Season a 2kg duck with salt and pepper and place in a roasting pan with 250ml of water. Roast in the oven at 180C for 1 hour. Add to the pan 10 shallots, peeled and left whole, 4 peeled cloves of garlic, 6 sprigs of thyme and 1 stick of cinnamon. Roast for another hour, basting occasionally. Add 12 pitted opal plums, sliced in half lengthways, and turn the oven up to 230C. Roast for 30 minutes and until the skin of the duck is brown and crispy. Place the duck on a chopping board and leave to rest for 10 minutes. Place the plums and onions in a bowl and drain the liquid from the pan into a saucepan. Simmer on a medium heat for about 10 minutes until thickened, skimming off fat as you go. Carve the duck, place on a platter, pop the plums and onions around the duck and drizzle with the sauce. Serves 4.
4. Spicy Plum Chutney
This is a great way to enjoy summer plums throughout the year. Half and pit 1kg plums, peel and chop 1kg of apples and 350g white onions. Crush1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes, 1 tablespoon toasted cumin seeds and 2 teaspoons of toasted mustard seeds using a pestle and mortar. Put the plums and onions in a large saucepan and add 200g dried cranberries, spices, 450g dark brown sugar, with 650ml red wine vinegar and 1 cinnamon stick. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally to avoid the mixture sticking to the pan. Leave to cool before spooning into sterilised jars. Slather in sandwiches or serve with cheeses and meats. Makes approx 2kg.
5. Plum Salsa
Underripe plums are ideal for this as the tartness with go nicely with the zingy ingredients. Dice 10 pitted opal plums, finely slice 2 spring onions, finely chop a handful of fresh mint and coriander leaves and finely chop 1 small red chilli. Place all ingredients in a bowl and add the juice of 1 lime. Season with salt and pepper and leave for a least 10 minutes for the flavours to get to know each other. Great served with roasted meats, this is a top addition to a barbecue. Serves 4 – 6.
See Organic Opal Plums £1.50 per 500g from Chegworth Valley Farm in the shop