Friday, September 16, 2011

Plum Caprese Salad

My dad was an inveterate reader of newspapers. He subscribed to at least 4 papers at any given time, and he was rarely, if ever, seen without a folded section of newspaper stuck in his back pocket. He took great delight in finding articles of interest to his relatives and friends; in fact, when my siblings and I grew up and left home my parents reserved a desk drawer for each of us, just to hold newspaper clippings. Every time I visited my parents I'd open my drawer to find a stack of newsprint articles with my name scrawled in pen across the top margin.

Some of my favorite recipes are ones that my father unearthed in the newspaper, usually the New York Times. My own newspaper reading is spotty, but I rarely miss perusing the Food section of any paper that's in front of me. A few weeks ago, I was shuffling the sections of the weekend Wall Street Journal, and on the front of the Off Duty section I noticed an article about the many uses of the herb basil. It was written by none other than Dorie Greenspan, and was complete with several appetizing recipes. I immediately pulled out the ingredients for a fanciful Basil, Mozzarella, and Plum Salad. This is, in essence, the old standby, caprese salad, but, in a stroke of genius, Dorie substitutes plums for the traditional tomatoes.

n.o.e.'s notes:

- You can find the article and recipe here.

- The first step in the recipe is to make basil oil, which is not difficult but takes a bit of time to infuse.

- Once the basil oil is steeped, it is used in two ways. It's tossed with salad greens, and it's also stirred into a mixture of plums, mozzarella, torn basil, lime juice, jalapeno pepper, salt and pepper. The salad is assembled by spooning the plum/mozzarella mixture over the greens.

- We had some non-plum eaters around our dinner table the evening I served this salad, so I made theirs a traditional caprese salad with tomatoes instead of the plums.

the verdict:

This salad is both surprisingly beautiful and unusually delicious. It's a wonderful transitional salad - perfect for the end of summer/early autumn, when stone fruit is plentiful, and fresh basil is readily available.


Kayte said...

This looks delightful...salad definitely my thing and using plums this way another favorite. How about I make just this instead of that plum cobbler? No? Well, I tried! Before the boys arrived and I got extremely busier, I was a hound for newspapers as well...I would read all that we subscribed to and then hit the libraries for my favorites there. I recently tried to get back to that and am amazed at just how much newspapers have changed...or maybe it is me...they just don't captivate me as they used to (perhaps it is the instant gratification of the internet now)...a sad turn of events indeed, it's like an old friend becoming incapacitated and not able to speak anymore. Sigh. Loved the memories of your dad in this post.

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

It is a stroke of genius, and I happen to have a cxouple of plums sitting waitng for me.