Savory Plums and Onions

By • August 5, 2010 • 31 Comments



Author Notes: One of my favorite reference books for preserves of all kinds is the British author Hilaire Walden’s “Sensational Preserves.” She has a recipe for a lovely confit made of red plums, red onions, Szechuan peppercorns and a lot of vinegar and brown sugar, which I’ve put up a number of times over the years. (Ms. Walden’s book is full of recipes for all manner of savory treats, by the way.) This recipe, which is much simpler, makes a quick, tasty topping, whose primary ingredients are also onions and plums. We enjoy it on the sausages we grill or pan fry in the summer. I like the long, narrow curve of prune plums for this, but if you can’t get them, choose a firm-fleshed, just barely ripe large plum. You want the fruit to keep its shape, so very ripe plums of any kind just won’t work. The key here is to get the oil hot, then flash sear the fruit to caramelize it quickly. You then remove the plums and cook the onions in the same pan. The onions caramelize quickly in the sweet juices released by the plums. Feel free to add whatever fresh herbs strike your fancy. With an herb-filled or garlic sausage, I find that simpler is better. Either way . . . . enjoy!!AntoniaJames

Serves 2-4, depending on the size of your plums, onions and appetites

  • 3 large prune plums
  • I large onion (or two small)
  • 2 -3 tablespoons grape seed oil (See note below.)
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar or white balsamic or champagne vinegar (See note below.)
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard or more, to taste (I like to use a horseradish mustard.)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Halve and pit the plums. Cut each half into three or four slices, lengthwise.
  2. Cut the onions in half from top to bottom, then into ¼” slices, horizontally.
  3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Just as the oil begins to smoke, drop all of the fruit slices in and gently turn them after a few seconds. Add a tiny pinch of salt. As soon as the plum slices turn light brown, remove them to a bowl and set aside. Do not cover them. (You don’t want the steam in a covered bowl to cook them any more at this point.)
  4. With the heat still on medium high, sauté the onions with another pinch of salt, stirring constantly. After a few minutes, turn the heat down and let the onions cook on medium low heat for another five to ten minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Push the onions aside. Turn the heat up and add the vinegar and mustard and stir well. Once they are somewhat combined, stir them into the onions and cook for another minute or so.
  6. Add the plum slices and gently stir. Test for salt and pepper.
  7. Enjoy!!
  8. N.B. I prefer grapeseed oil because it has a higher smoking point than olive oil. You want to get the oil very hot, then get the fruit in and out in a hurry. This allows it to retain its shape, and for the peels to remain intact.
  9. When short on time, I typically pan fry the sausages, remove them and set them aside (covered), the proceed with the recipe, using the same pan. I return the sausages to the pan at the very end to warm them just a bit before serving. Easy!!
  10. About the vinegar: I like to use a strawberry-infused white wine vinegar for this. You can't taste the strawberries, of course, but there is a subtle fruitiness to it that goes well with the caramelized onions and plums.

Tags: barbecue, caramelized onion, quick, sausage, savory, topping

Comments (31) Questions (0)

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Massimo's_deck_reflection_10_27_13

almost 4 years ago lapadia

Made this for dinner tonight with my husband's helping hand, rave reviews from everybody who was lucky enough to be here, DELICIOUS!

Monkeys

almost 4 years ago monkeymom

Plums used in this way is such a fantastic idea. I'll be looking for plums this week to try it out!

Me

almost 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

This really looks so good, antonia, that I'm planning on making it tonight. I'm not a big sausage girl, but was thinking of using this as a compote over pork chops. And thanks for the recommendation on Sensational Preserves. I want to get more into canning, and it sounds like this would be a great book! Thanks for all the knowledge you share!!

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almost 4 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

You've been reading my mind! I have pork chops on my shopping list, to grill this week and to serve with this plum and onion combination. With the pork chops, I'll probably increase the amount of mustard as we won't be putting mustard on the chops themselves, as we do with the sausages. I'll most likely use a very coarse mustard as well. Can you tell I love mustard?!! I have my first batch of Mostarda Mantovana of the year in progress now, having started it on Sunday, the first day that local, freshly picked apples were available at our farmers' markets here. Stay tuned for more on that. I'm having a lot of fun with mustards this year! ;o)

Me

almost 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Made this wonderful little compote tonight for some pork chops and just loved it! So easy. So delicious. Thanks for posting!!

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almost 4 years ago dymnyno

AJ I love fruit and onions...last night I was really tired and decided to make a quick and dirty chicken so I just sauteed some sweet onions with a sliced tart Gravenstein apple in a big dab of butter and dumped it on the chicken...will have to try plums.

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almost 4 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Mmmm, yum! I just bought a big bag of Gravs at the farmers' market. They are nice and tart. I simply will have to try this . . . I have some sausages in the fridge, which I was going to use in my lentil and sausage soup -- yes, it's been as cold here as many winter nights!! -- but now I'm thinking that pan frying them with a few of those apples and onions would do the trick nicely. Thanks for the inspiration! ;o)

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almost 4 years ago Mac

Okay, that was seriously delicious. The plums and onions were delicious and added a new dimension to chicken/apple sausage. Thank you!

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almost 4 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Thanks so much! I'm glad you liked them. We eat a lot of sausages (the ultimate convenience food, but such a good one because there are so many different really nice ones available now, including many made with lower fat meats) so I can see that these onion and fruit combos are going to become a regular feature on the menu here. ;o)

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almost 4 years ago Mac

Looks delicious. Will try it as I have a freezer fulll of sausages. Am planning to make strawberry jam tomorrow. Sunday DMV farmer's market has a vendor with the best strawberries I've had this summer. More like Oregon berries than California. A little pricey but worth it, I think, for the taste. Will buy some plums when I'm there....

Bmp_9375

almost 4 years ago Sunchowder

This recipe looks fabulous! I am also excited to try a Mostarda--I have about 7 different recipe versions that I am going to experiment with--so thank you so much for renewed inspriration on that. I can't wait to try your recipe.

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almost 4 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Thank you, Sunchowder! The mostardas will change your life. I'm serious. And I can imagine that they will be hugely popular with your customers, too. They take about five days to make (very little work during that time) and then, as most condiments, they taste a lot better after sitting for a week or so. I can't wait until quinces are ripe here! I'll be trying three or four types this fall, at least (combining fruits, too). ;o)

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almost 4 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I love how this sounds...I don't really eat sausage, but I would love to try this.

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almost 4 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Thank you so much. Try it on grilled chicken that's been marinated in some good strong herbs . . . parsley, fresh oregano, garlic and chives. I've also made this with shallots, but they tend to get too soft for my taste. They taste good, but I like the sturdier crunch of the yellow onions. I hope you do try it! ;o)

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almost 4 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Aargersi, you simply must make the mostarda. You can make it in the fall, when there isn't quite as much around to can/preserve. Make small batches and put them up in 4 ounce jars and no one will ever notice. It's heavenly. ;o)

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almost 4 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Allright but if I end up in a CA (canners anonymous) rehab facility I am taking you with me!!!!

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almost 4 years ago Sagegreen

Well, aargersi, after Mary's canning class this Saturday you may have some company at least.

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almost 4 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Aargersi, I'm the worst jamming enabler on the planet. But really, the mostarda you put in small jars because you don't use a whole lot of it at a time, and it's not really "canning" (she says, trying to articulate her denial). You're just making a condiment. Besides, when anyone who might complain about your canning too much tries it, they'll immediately withdraw all objections. ;o)

Dsc_0675-x2a

almost 4 years ago Sagegreen

Great recipe! My sister used to do this with apples and we never thought of plums.

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almost 4 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Thank you, Sagegreen. I love onions and apples together, but this is even better, to my mind, especially when you use a tart variety of plum, and the plums are still a bit firm. With the touch of vinegar, it's not too sweet, but just does the trick to balance the rich flavors of a good brat. ;o)

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almost 4 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

This looks so good - I would never have thought to do this with plums!

New_years_kitchen_hlc_only

almost 4 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Try it! Especially if your plums are rather tart, as ours tend to be, this works so well on brats of any kind. It's incredibly easy, too. ;o)

Massimo's_deck_reflection_10_27_13

almost 4 years ago lapadia

Sounds great, love your picture...and I think this is something I can handle even with my right arm in a sling...well, need somebody to get me to the store first! Thanks for sharing your creation.

New_years_kitchen_hlc_only

almost 4 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

You know, you probably can make this with just one hand. I hope you try it. And thanks for the kind words about my picture. That was my lunch yesterday!! I didn't have any baguettes or rolls for the sausages, so I just split one lengthwise and put it on some toasted multi-grain bread (my own, of course) for Mr. T. I piled about a half a cup of this stuff on it, and slathered one slice with coarse Dijon mustard. Mr. T declared it "outstanding." On a Saturday, we would have each enjoyed a nice "cold one" with it. ;o)

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almost 4 years ago ellenl

I can't wait to try this!

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almost 4 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

I hope you do try it, and that you enjoy it as much as we do!! ;o)

Lobster_001

almost 4 years ago nannydeb

This sounds wonderful!

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almost 4 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Thanks! It's quick and easy, too. Great ROI of time, and great summer food, at the same time, ;o)

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almost 4 years ago thirschfeld

You know I told my wife I needed to do a take on Boudin Noir with apples and onions. I even made chicken sausage(well rooster, we did some butchering this week and they have darker meat so it is great for sausage) to go with it and then changed my mind. I am glad you did this and it looks really great. Now I am going to have to get more plums so I can make this.

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almost 4 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Thanks so much! I really like fruit with sausages . . . . apples are everyone's favorites, and then I discovered Maria Teresa Jorge's Mostarda Mantovana, which I made with pears last fall, and plan to make with quinces, as soon as they're available here. I like these plums a lot because they're cooked so quickly, which allows them to retain their firmness. I hope you do try this. Please let us know how it turns out, if you do. ;o)

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almost 4 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Please say you did not point out another canning project for me .... :-)