Mary Beth Clark

Culinary Educator · Consultant · Author
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Roasted Plums with Walnuts and Lemon

www.marybethclark.com

Usually served as a fresh snack or baked into a cake or tart, plums are fantastic when cooked. Have you ever made Roasted Plums at home? It's a winner. Mix all types of plums together…Italian purple plums, cherry-colored Victoria plums, sunshiny Mirabelles, plump Damsons with their blueish-black skins, Greengages, or whatever your market offers. Leave them whole, halved, or quartered. Toss them with crunchy walnuts, garlic and herbs or spices, and olive oil, then tumble the mixture into the roasting dish.

For savory flavor, mix in garlic, fresh rosemary and sage, and hot chili peppers. For spice, mix in cinnamon sticks and star anise with chili peppers. For bright freshness, mix all ingredients together just before roasting. For a garlicky, hot accent, infuse the olive oil with the garlic and/or chili peppers for an hour before combining with the other ingredients.

Carry the roasting dish filled with warm, juicy plums directly to the table so everyone can enjoy its enticing aroma (and you receive compliments). Serve Roasted Plums as a side dish with braised meat or chicken, grilled sausage or chops, roasted meats or poultry, or sauteed sole, flounder, or turbot filets. Or as a main course or dessert, serve along side a beckoning platter of cheese. Roasted Plums with Walnuts and Lemon is easy on the budget, easy to prepare, provide many vitamins and fiber, and really are luscious!


Roasting time is 20 to 30 minutes.

Fresh plums (Choose any type or assortment of firm ripe plums)
Walnuts

Savory:
Whole garlic cloves, split, lightly crushed
Fresh rosemary sprigs
Fresh sage leaves
Dried hot chili peppers

Or Spicy:
Cinnamon stick, broken in half
Star anise
Dried hot chili peppers

Extra-virgin olive oil
Fresh lemon slices
Fresh orange slices
Sea salt to taste
Coarsely ground black pepper to taste


1. Preheat the oven to 400º F/200º C/Gas Mark 6. Select an ovenproof roasting dish large enough to hold the ingredients in one or two layers. Rinse the plums under cool running water, drain but do not dry. Split them in half or into quarters, leaving the skin on, discard the pit. If the plums are small, leave them whole. Having a mix of whole, halved, and quartered plums gives your family greater choice of texture from firm to soft, which everyone really likes.

Put the plums in a mixing bowl. Add the walnuts. Add either the savory or spicy ingredients. Pour in enough olive oil to coat the ingredients. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Toss.

Pour in enough extra-virgin olive oil to just coat the bottom of the roasting dish to prevent burning. Place a few lemon and orange slices in the bottom, but do not cover the entire bottom with citrus. Arrange the plum mixture in the dish, spreading out the ingredients so there is enough air space surrounding them for even roasting.

2. Place the plum mixture in the center of the preheated oven and roast for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the ripeness and size of the plums. After roasting for 10 to 15 minutes, enjoy the enticing aroma emanating from your oven. Continue roasting for another 10 to 15 minutes, or as you prefer. Remove the dish from the oven when the plums are fragrant and swollen with juice, and a luscious sauce coats the bottom of the dish.

Bring the baking dish to the dining table to serve warm or at room temperature, along with a loaf of warm crusty bread to sop up the juices…Mmmmm…

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