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That’s plum good

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Walking past a basket of deeply hued black plums is an intoxicating experience. The aroma of sweet nectar belies the tart tang of each juicy bite. There's something pretty amazing about this drupe fruit. The succulent rosy colored flesh is sweet and sour at the same time; almost an oxymoron of flavor pops.

Hold on, craving and salivating has stopped - drupe fruit? Yes that's the classification of plums, peaches, nectarines and cherries, as well as a few nuts, but that's a different article. Drupe refers to the fact that there is an exterior skin, a soft, fleshy interior which surrounds a pit that encloses a seed; the food version of nesting dolls.

With the resurgence of heirloom fruits and vegetables, there are dozens of plums available on the market. Black Amber with its honeyed yellow flesh and crimson-skinned Santa Rosa are two of the most readily available. The Italian prune-plums, which grace many a backyard garden, are sweeter and ripen later in the growing season.

Falling into the plum's enchantment, more than sugar plum fairies begin to dance. Visions of rustic, flaky tarts, medleys of peaches, plums and cherries doused in sweet summer wine and pungent sharp chutneys emerge into culinary creations. They lend themselves to devouring fresh, juice dripping down the chin, stuffing with blue cheese and chopped walnuts then grilled to caramelized perfection or changing up a tried and true chicken salad for a picnic in the park.

Chicken Salad with Plums

You'll need:
Salad

  • 2 cups cooked chicken, diced in ½ " pieces
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • ¼ cup chives, chopped
  • ½ cup slivered almonds
  • 1 cup plums diced (approximately 2 to 3 depending on the size)

Dressing

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper

What you'll do:

  • Prepare salad ingredients
  • Chicken - use left-over roast chicken, rotisserie chicken or poach 2 large chicken breasts. Place chopped chicken in a big mixing bowl.
  • Clean and chop celery, chives and plums. Add to the chicken and set aside.
  • Place all dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together; add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Gently stir dressing over the chicken mixture.

Options for eating:

  • Scoop ½ cup servings onto a small plate as a starter course
  • Serve on top of a bed of leafy greens for a light meal
  • Tuck into warm pita bread or tortillas as a wrap
  • Stuff into crusty rolls
  • Combine with 1 ½ cups cooked quinoa, farro or barley for a hearty salad
  • Make tea sandwiches by topping thinly sliced pumpernickel with the chicken salad
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