With spring flowers comes the Chilean fruit harvest. And with the newest restrictions on restaurants, comes the need to cook and create on your own. So when at my local Real Canadian Superstore I looked to Chile’s grapes and plums to spark my creativity.
Plums and grapes are available from December to April thanks to Chile’s counter seasonal harvest. Meaning that when it is winter here it is summer in Chile and we get to enjoy the fruits for their labour in the Northern Hemisphere. And fun fact, Chile is the main plum supplier in the South Hemisphere. Similarly, at this time of the year majority of the grapes we enjoy comes from Chile.
So I gathered a bushel of large green table grapes, hoping for a more tart taste and likewise some firm black plums. The goal, to utilize these fruits in a savoury dish, instead of the usual desserts that they are featured in.
Here are tips on how to pick the perfect grapes from @fruitfromChile
- Select ones that are firm, plump, and attached to the stems
- Look for consistent colouring. Stems should be green and flexible
- Any powdery-white coating on the grapes is bloom, and perfectly safe to eat. Bloom is a naturally occurring substance that protects grapes from moisture loss and decay
- Avoid sticky, mouldy, or shriveled grapes and dry and brittle stems
Here are tips on how to pick the perfect plums from @fruitfromChile:
- Chilean plums at this time of year have a firmer crunchier texture
- You don’t want the plums to be super soft
- A slightly firmer is ideal
- To ripen plums, place them in a brown paper bag for 1-2 days and store at room temperature
- Storing them in the refrigerator will slow down the ripening process
And now that we have all our supplies, here is what we came up with and how you can replicate this recipe yourself.
Given that pork is already notoriously known for being a good pairing with fruit in the form of apples, we decided to do a pork chop in plum sauce instead. And to roast our grapes with root vegetables, for an added level of flavour. I like purchasing my meat from Save On Foods, where you can also get your grapes and plums from as well.
Wash then roast nugget potatoes and heirloom carrot in the oven. No need to dress either. Roast both until tender and a fork easily pierces them. I like the look of these colourful ones.
Further cook potatoes in a cast iron pan with olive oil. Brown on both sides. Then toss with garlic and butter. Finish with fresh chopped dill. The herbaceous of the dill offsets the sweetness of the fruit.
Remove heirloom carrots from the oven. further cook in a pan with butter. Simmer and add in sliced chilean table grapes. Sauté with sliced garlic, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
In the meanwhile, slice plums and simmer in a pan with water. Keep an eye on this and add more water as needed. You are looking for a softened paste with a chunky consistency. Or you can cook everything down and strain for a more smooth liquid sauce.
Prepare pork chops by making cuts along its edges. This ensures that the meat doesn’t curl up, and continues to lay flat as you cook. Heavily season with salt and pepper on both sides. If you think it is enough add two more churns of your pepper and/or salt mill, or another pinch or two by hand.
Heat quality olive oil in a cast iron pan. Place chops in pan. Cook until golden brown on both sides. Use tongs to help brown edges as well. Allow pork to rest, we suggest a bowl for easier pooling of excess blood and juices.
Then pull it all together. The key to plating is vegetables first and piling them high. Then laying the featured protein over it before dressing it with garnishes and additional seasoning.
And to further extend your fruit, you can also incorporate it into cocktails to pair with your meal. Choose your spirit and mix muddle fruit with a carbonated beverage over ice.
Fruit is a healthy and easy way to add flavour and sugar into any food or drink. Look to seasonal offerings to inspire your next meal.