And when our children are off at camp, we macerate and grill up the abundant drupes, pressing the juicy halves into beds of lemon-spiked ricotta, resting the charred goodness atop crispy grilled bread.
To Make Grilled Plum and Lemon Ricotta Toasts:
First, taste your plums. If they’re super sour, you should probably bake them into a sweet upside-down cake. If they strike that wonderful sweet/sour balance and they’re not too soft, they’re perfect for grilling.
Halve and pit them. If they’re a bit cranky in terms of pit removal, you can cut the plums in slightly unequal halves, leaving the pit intact in the larger half; then use a paring knife to extract the pit (being careful not to puncture your hand). Toss the plums with a few splashes of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, a pinch of salt, and any torn fresh herbs you like (thyme, rosemary, sage, tarragon, and oregano all work well). Set aside for 30 minutes until juices starts to drizzle out.
Mix the ricotta. Fancy ricotta is not required; just taste it and make sure it hasn’t soured (ricotta goes bad very quickly). Mix 3/4 cup ricotta with 1 tablespoon olive oil, the juice and zest from half a lemon, and a pinch of salt. Taste. Adjust to your liking. Set aside.
Grill plums. Do this in a super hot cast iron pan or on a ridged pancake griddle or on the actual grill. Flip after about a minute. Remove from heat when they’re nicely charred on both sides and are just starting to soften. Place hot fruit back into the macerating liquid.
Toast or grill some bread. Top the bread with a generous spoonful of the ricotta mixture. Press a grilled plum down into the ricotta mixture. Drizzle with coarse salt and olive oil. Sprinkle with chopped parsley. Eat.
Phyllis Grant is an IACP finalist for Personal Essays/Memoir Writing and a three-time Saveur Food Blog Awards finalist for her blog, Dash and Bella. Her essays and recipes have been published in a dozen anthologies and cookbooks including Best Food Writing 2015 and 2016. Her work has been featured both in print and online for various outlets, including Oprah, The New York Times, Food52, Saveur, The Huffington Post, Time Magazine, The San Francisco Chronicle, Tasting Table and Salon. Her memoir with recipes, Everything Is Out of Control, is coming out April 2020 from Farrar Straus & Giroux. She lives in Berkeley, California with her husband and two children.