Alex Eats: Plums

Every week, Alex Guarnaschelli, host of Alex's Day Off , shares with readers what she's eating -- whether it's from the farmers' market or fresh off the boat, she'll have you craving everything from comfort food to seasonal produce.

I love plums. I am always impressed with their sweet flesh and slightly tangy skin. However, I am also often disappointed with their texture -- sometimes pasty, mealy and overly firm. Here is my solution:  I buy under-ripe plums and toss thin slices with roasted beets or cherry tomatoes. I appreciate the almost green, tangy flavor the plums have. When I find riper, but firmer plums, I enjoy a recipe like the one below. The vinegar adds a surprising brightness to the flavor.

Cinnamon-Ginger Plums With Whipped Cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 large plums, ripe but firm, washed, dried and halved
1 small knob fresh ginger, peeled and grated
¼ cup hazelnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
½ cup sugar
Kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
½ cup unsweetened whipped cream (optional)

Heat a skillet large enough to hold all of the plum halves, add the butter and the plums. Sprinkle with sugar and cook them over medium to low heat, on their flesh side, for three to five minutes or until they start to get tender. Flip the plums so they are flesh side up. Dot the flesh with the fresh ginger.

In a bowl, combine the hazelnuts with the remaining sugar, a pinch of salt, and the cinnamon and ginger. Mix to blend.

Sprinkle the plums with all of the mixture and stir to blend. Cook over medium heat, stirring to combine the ingredients. Add a generous splash of water and the vinegar. Cook until the juices become slightly syrupy to coat the plums, two to three minutes.

Serve with whipped cream or a scoop of tangy sorbet, like raspberry or passion fruit if using.

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