Put A Twist On Savory Late-Summer Fruit With These Recipes

Sep 12, 2018
Originally published on September 11, 2018 11:09 am

Looking for a new twist on using summer fruit? Here & Now resident chef Kathy Gunst suggests using produce like plums and cherries in savory dishes like grilled cheese and salsa. She brings in samples for host Robin Young to try.


Gingered Green Bean And Plum Salad

This salad has a Japanese flavor profile and is light and refreshing. Serve as a side dish or a light lunch with warm crunchy bread.

Serves 2 to 4.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound green beans, green and/or yellow, ends trimmed
  • 1 large or 2 medium ripe plums, cut into thin slices with all juices
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Bring a pot of water to boil over high heat. Add the beans and cook about 5 to 6 minutes, depending on the thickness and freshness, until almost cooked through, or al dente. Rinse under cold running water and drain again.
  2. Place in a bowl and gently toss with the plums. Add the oil, vinegar, ginger, salt and pepper and toss lightly. Don’t dress the salad until about 10 minutes before serving.

Summer Fruit Salsa

This fruity salsa is wildly colorful, refreshing and has an unexpected punch of flavor. Cherries, plums, tomato, lime juice and chile peppers are mixed together; serve the salsa with tortilla chips, grilled chicken, grilled shrimp or fish.

Makes about 2 cups.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup cherries, cut in half and pitted
  • 1/2 cup ripe plums, cubed with any juices
  • 1/2 cup ripe tomato, cubed with any juices
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped sweet Vidalia onion or scallions
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 to 1 tablespoon chopped jalapeño or chile pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions

Gently mix all the ingredients together and taste for seasoning, adding more salt, pepper or jalapeño. Keep cool until serving.

Grilled Cheese And Fruit

I love serving summer fruit with cheese plates, so I wondered: What about fruit and cheese melted together in that great American classic, grilled cheese?

The results are unexpectedly fabulous. There are so many possibilities, but here are two of my favorites: blue cheese and cherries (or plums) and grilled maple peaches with sharp cheddar. You could also consider a grilled blueberry-Gruyere or a raspberry-feta sandwich.

These recipes make one sandwich but you can double or triple easily.

Grilled Blue Cheese-Cherry Sandwich

Serves 1 to 2.

Ingredients

  • 2 slices of your favorite bread, or 2-inch piece of baguette, sliced lengthwise
  • 4 tablespoons blue cheese, at room temperature
  • 8 to 10 cherries, cut in half and pitted, or 1/2 ripe plum cut into very thin slices
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • About 1 teaspoon olive oil

Instructions

  1. Rub the blue cheese on one piece of the bread. Press the cherries or plum slices onto the other slice of bread, gently pressing the fruit into the bread. Place the bread with the cheese on top of the bread with the fruit and gently press together.
  2. In a medium skillet, heat the butter and 1 teaspoon of the oil over moderate heat. Place the sandwich in the hot skillet, cheese side down and cook about 3 to 4 minutes on each side, adding more oil if needed, or until the cheese is melted and the bread is golden brown. Cut in half.

Grilled Maple Peaches And Sharp Cheddar Sandwich

In this grilled cheese sandwich, ripe summer peaches are placed on a hot grill and basted with sweet maple syrup. The peach is then cooled, thinly sliced, and topped with sharp cheddar before being grilled.

Serves 1 to 2.

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe peach, cleaned but not peeled, cut in half and pitted
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 slices of your favorite bread
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced or grated sharp cheddar
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

Instructions

  1. Heat a charcoal or gas grill to 400 degrees.
  2. Place the peach skin side down on a rack on the hot grill. Spoon half the maple syrup and salt and pepper inside the cavity. Cook 2 to 3 minutes. Gently flip the peach (it’s OK if syrup spills out) and brush the remaining syrup on the skin side; grill for another 2 to 3 minutes. The peach should show grill marks and be softened, but not falling apart.
  3. Remove from the grill and bring to room temperature. When cooled off, thinly slice the peach, keeping any maple juices.
  4. Place the cheese on one piece of bread and the peach slices on the other slice. Carefully place the cheese slice on top of the peach slice and gently press together.
  5. In a medium skillet, heat the butter and 1 teaspoon oil over moderate heat. Add the sandwich, cheese side down, and gently press down with a spatula. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until the cheese is melted and bubbling, adding more oil if needed. Cut in half.
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