A trip to the farmer's market during a visit to California, a bag of dappled, succulent pluots, and the taste-memory of a savory Georgian sour-plum condiment put up by a friend's mother, were the inspiration for this recipe. I decided to create an uncooked "salsa"-type version of that Tkemali sauce. Pluots add a soft, fruity and floral note to the tartness of black plums. With smaller fish steaks, this makes a suave and seductive first course. Note: the Monterey Aquarium site provides up-to-date information on the most sustainably caught varieties of fish currently available: http://www.seafoodwatch.org/) —creamtea
For the Salsa
diced plums (a combination of black plums and pluots is best); about 8-10 medium fruits
clove shallot, minced
a drizzle of 1/2 lime
1 small handfuls
minced fresh cilantro
generous sprinkle Aleppo pepper, or a pinch of Cayenne
for the fish
tuna or halibut steaks or 6 small steaks for appetizer portion
In a medium bowl, toss together first five ingredients for salsa. Set aside while you prepare fish steaks. Just before serving, stir in cilantro.
Heat a cast-iron skillet over a medium high flame, pouring in enough olive oil to cover bottom of pan.
When pan is hot, add steaks. Do not crowd. Sear on first side, lowering heat slightly as necessary, until steak releases easily from pan with the aid of a pancake turner or fish spatula. Turn steaks to brown other side, readjusting flame as necessary. Cook until desired degree of doneness. Serve individual portions, topped with plum salsa and garnished with lime wedges.