As creatures of habit and hesitant towards change, there are times when even the most adventurous of humans struggle with giving things a chance, especially when it comes to trying new foods. For me, I have always resisted the humble plum. I have eaten plums at homes of friends with pleasure. If one were to inquire of my opinion regarding this specific rock fruit, I would reply with positivity. I would even go on to describe them as juicy, sweet, tender, and excellent for cooking. Nonetheless, each week when I go shopping at Silver Barn market, I pass by the lovely display of locally grown plums, and each week I continue pushing my cart on by. Do not ask me why. It would likely play out like a Dr. Seuss story as I would proceed to confuse you with all sorts of riddling explanations as to why I never buy this particular fruit. Pretty soon your head would be spinning, then my head would be spinning, and before we could effectively end the discussion, we would both be searching for the nearest barf bag.
However, sometimes, what one needs is a gentle push in the right direction. Or, if you’re me, with stubborn German roots, it requires something resembling…more of a kick in the pants.
Last Saturday, I stopped by my friends’ house to pick them up for a night out in Astoria. Seeing their parents in the front yard, I hopped out to say my “hellos” and get my usual “don’t get into too much trouble there, Juhl-child”. While I was chitchatting about their newest landscape project, I found my friend talking to me in the background about her recent interaction with an Ecuadorian neighbor. Trying to multi-task, I nodded along to both conversations simultaneously – (always dangerous and yet I never learn). Beware – you will ALWAYS say, “yes” to something you don’t want or need. It’s like my sister, who at a naïve 23, had to be told by her Parisian friend to stop saying “Oui” to anything she didn’t understand. “You’re going to end up married to an Arab and in the African district if you’re not too careful!” Ignoring this universal advice, I headed back to the car and realized that I had just agreed to a bag full of plums. OF ALL FRUIT – REALLY??!! Apparently my friend had similarly been bamboozled by her Polish neighbor who asked if she liked plums – “ahhh I have a tree – no can eat it all. Here four bags!” So like a good friend, she “paid it forward” and bamboozled me into my very own bag. How nice.
Fortunately, my conniving culinary brain began working and I decided to similarly “pay it forward”. I had a friend for lunch today and prepared tilapia with plum mint salsa. The funniest part of this whole story – my friend doesn’t really like plums. Muahahahahahahaha!
Friends and neighbors will drive you “plum crazy”!
- 6 medium (or 8 small) ripe plums, pitted and diced
- 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup finely chopped cilantro
- 20 mint leaves, finely chopped
- 1 tb diced jalepenos
- juice of 1 lime
- 2 pinches of salt
- 2 pinches Stevia
Put plums in a bowl with onion, cilantro, mint, and jalepeno. Add lime juice, salt, and Stevia and mix until combined. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.
Broiled Tilapia with Plum Salsa
- Pam spray
- 1 lb Tilapia filets
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 tb olive oil
- 1 recipe Plum Salsa (see above)
- 4 lime wedges
Preheat broiler on High in your oven. Grease a baking sheet with Pam, then place filets on sheet. Generously sprinkle both sides of each filet with salt and pepper. Drizzle filets with olive oil. Broil until cooked to desired temperature (I prefer my tilapia to be medium-well, so I cooked mine for 8 minutes), depending on the thickness.
Transfer the fish to a serving platter and spoon the plum salsa generously over. Garnish with lime wedges and serve immediately.
YIELD: 3 servings
Now that I have conquered my inexplicable fear of the plum, does anyone have any suggestions on what to do with my-new found gastronomical friend?!