Grilled Plumcot Salad with Toasted Walnut Vinaigrette ~ make room on the grill for juicy stone fruit, it turns a plain kale salad into a summer showpiece.
My Grilled Plumcot Salad can only happen in mid summer, since stone fruits are one of the few holdouts that aren’t imported from some other hemisphere in the middle of January — you’ve got to love them while they’re here, and dream about them the rest of the time. That makes them special, and it means that when they’re available, we eat a lot of them, and often! Plumcots are a cross between an apricot and a plum, and they’ve been around for over a hundred years. Luther Burbank himself bred them. Pluots, on the other hand, are a more recent invention, and they’re the result of a plumcot being bred with another plum. Got it? Pluots are technically a little more ‘plummy’ than plumcots.
There’s been an explosion of delicious variations developed recently and I’m a big fan of all of them. They have fantastic flavor and the colors are incredible. Your grocery store probably gets the names screwed up, like with yams and sweet potatoes, but trust me, whatever you pick up, as long as it’s got apricot and/or plum in its heritage, it will be great.
Grilling fruit is sexy right now, but don’t be fooled, it’s not just a fad. A quick 2 minutes in a hot grill pan turns even a slightly under ripe plumcot into a sweet, juicy treat. From there you have lots of choices — you could top it with creme fraiche or put it over ice cream, you could eat it with yogurt and granola, or you can make a salad out of it, like I did. I recommend grilling the fruit at the last minute and then serving it warm over the greens. I’ve included a few hints for grilling fruit at the end of the post. It’s not an exact science, it depends on the fruit, so don’t going into it determined to get perfect grill marks. You might, and then again you might not. But what you will get is incredible flavor.
I chose shredded kale, walnuts and goat cheese for my salad…and they strike up a lively conversation with each other. The toasted walnut vinaigrette is perfection. I cracked whole walnuts for this because they really are that much fresher and it really does make a difference. Then I toasted them. That makes a HUGE difference. Toasting nuts takes only 10 minutes in a 350F oven and they double their flavor and crunch. You’ll have a tough time saving enough nuts for the recipe because you’ll want to pop little palmfuls into your mouth until there’s none left. But don’t.
tips for grilling stone fruit:
- Choose slightly firm fruit, rather than fully ripe, which can be a little too juicy to grill well.
- If the pit does not come loose on its own, take a small sharp knife and run it around the pit and wiggle it out gently.
- For this a stove top grill pan actually works better than your backyard grill.
- Brush the cut side of the fruit lightly with vegetable oil before grilling.
- Make sure your grill is VERY hot before you set the fruit down, and don’t move the fruit once you place it. I will sometimes press down on the fruit lightly with my spatula to insure good contact with the hot grill. It will only take a minute or two, the longer you leave it, the softer the fruit will be.
- Remove the fruit from the grill with a thin metal spatula in one smooth move so you don’t disturb the grill marks.
- You can slice the halves into slices and then grill them, if you like.
- Some fruit takes grill marks better than others, so don’t worry if you don’t get strong marks, the flavor will still be there!
Also try ~
- four handfuls of finely shredded kale
- 2 plumcots,
- 1/3 cup toasted walnuts (plus a palmful for the dressing)
- approximately 1/3 cup goat cheese, crumbled
- vegetable oil for brushing onto the fruit
- 5 Tbsp good olive oil (Extra Virgin)
- 2 Tbsp champagne vinegar (or other mild white vinegar)
- 1 tsp grainy Dijon mustard
- 2 Tbsp toasted walnuts
- pinch of salt
- Set oven to 350F
- First toast the walnuts. Spread them out on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes until fragrant. Let them cool.
- Slice the plumcots in half with a sharp knife and remove the pit. Heat a grill pan on medium high heat until quite hot. Brush each half of the fruit lightly with oil and place face down on the grill. Don't move for about 2 minutes. You can press down slightly with a spatula if you like, to insure good contact with the grill. Remove the fruit to a plate.
- Put the kale at the bottom of a salad bowl Toss the kale with a little bit of the dressing, making sure all the surfaces get coated.
- Sprinkle the kale with about 1/3 cup of the toasted walnuts, and the goat cheese.
- Arrange the stone fruit on the salad and drizzle liberally with the dressing. Serve immediately.
- To make the dressing, put all the ingredients in a small food processor and process until blended and creamy. Taste to adjust any of the ingredients to your liking.