Author Notes: I hope you like this quick relish of sorts, which we put on grilled sausages. Choose a firm-fleshed, just barely ripe plum, which will keep its shape. By flash searing the fruit to caramelize it quickly, remove it and saute the onions in the same pan, they caramelize quickly in the sweet juices released by the plums. If your sausages don’t have herbs in them, throw in a few good pinches of fresh thyme leaves. With garlic and herb sausages, I don’t bother. Either way . . . . I hope you like this!! ;o) —AntoniaJames
Serves: 2-4, depending on the size of your plums, onions and appetites
3 medium prune plums or 2 medium other plums, pluots or firm apriums
4 large shallot lobes (use ones about the same size as the fruit)
2 -3 tablespoons grape seed or canola oil
2 tablespoons wine vinegar (red or white, it doesn’t matter)
1 tablespoon brown mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
- Halve and pit the plums. Cut each half into three or four slices, lengthwise. Thickly slice the shallots lengthwise.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Just as the oil begins to smoke, drop all of the fruit slices in and gently turn them after about 15 seconds. Add a tiny pinch of salt. As soon as the plum slices turn light brown, remove them to a bowl, uncovered.
- With the heat still on medium high, sauté the onions with another pinch of salt, stirring constantly. After about a minute, turn the heat down and let the onions cook on medium low heat for another 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Push the onions aside, add the vinegar and mustard, and stir to incorporate. Then, stir to coat the onions, and cook over medium for another minute or so.
- Gently fold in the plum slices. Test and adjust salt and pepper.
- N.B. Use an oil like grapeseed or canola oil – one with a higher smoke point than olive oil. You need to make it very hot, then get the fruit in and out in a hurry. This allows the fruit to retain its shape, with the peels remaining intact.
- When pan frying sausages, remove them and set them aside (covered), the proceed with the recipe, using the same pan. Return the sausages to the pan at the very end to warm them just a bit before serving. Easy!!
- Recently, I’ve been using Westcot apriums for this. Their tart flesh gives it a great flavor.
- Years ago I stumbled on a noteworthy reference books for preserves by the British author Hilaire Walden. “Sensational Preserves” includes a recipe for a red plums, red onion confit made with Szechuan peppercorns, brown sugar and vinegar – a chutney, really. Over the years I simplified and tweaked that recipe, to end up with this. ;o)