Saturday, July 13, 2013


Like jewels, summer's plums.

When my grandson Leo arrived to stay with us, he was toting a bag of toys and a bag of golden yellow plums (ciruelas; ciruelas-pasas are prunes), picked on his Nana’s finca (farm). I’ve been enjoying them for breakfast every day. Now I’m branching out—looking for other ways to use them up.

Plums, which are naturally sweet and sour, go especially well with pork. This sauce could also be cooked with small game hens, with lamb chops or with salmon.

This recipe can be freely varied, using whichever variety of plums is available. I pitted but didn’t peel the plums, as the skins contribute tart flavor. I removed some of the partially-cooked plums to use as garnish with the meat. Then I pureed the rest with the sauce and put the sauce through a sieve to remove the bits of peel.

You can use any slightly sweet wine for the sauce. I have tried martini rosso and white vermouth. This time I used Pale Cream, from Montilla-Moriles, because that’s what I had available. Pale cream Sherry from Jerez is the equivalent wine. Taste the sauce; if too tart, add just a little honey.

Sage, rosemary, thyme
Mediterranean herbs—thyme, rosemary, sage—complement the plums. My favorite is thyme, but I decided rosemary was the best pairing.

Pork tenderloin is the most tender cut of all. But, because it has little fat, it can be dry if overcooked. If possible remove the pork when it is still a little pink in the center. About 145ºF if you have an instant-read meat thermometer.

Plum sauce with rosemary complements pork tenderloin.

Solomillo de Cerdo con Salsa de Ciruelas
Pork Tenderloin with Plum Sauce

Serves 4.

2 pork tenderloins, each about 12 ounces
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup chopped shallots

Crushed red chile (optional)
1 pound plums, pitted and sliced (2 cups)
½ cup pale cream Sherry or Montilla or other sweet wine
¼ cup water
Sprig of fresh rosemary

Sprinkle the tenderloins with salt and pepper and allow to stand for 30 minutes.

Heat the oil in a pan and brown the pork on all sides. Remove them. Add the shallots and chile, if using, and sauté 3 minutes. Add the plums and sauté another 2 minutes. Add the wine, water and rosemary. Return the tenderloins to the pan. Cover and simmer 8 minutes.

Remove pieces of plums to use as garnish for the meat. Turn the tenderloins. Cover and cook another 8 minutes (to an internal temperature of 145ºF).

Remove the meat to a cutting board and allow to set 5 minutes. Remove the sprig of rosemary.Transfer the sauce in the pan to a blender and puree it. Pass it through a sieve.

Slice the tenderloins. Serve the meat with the reserved plums and the sauce.

Tender pork and tart-sweet plum sauce, a perfect combo.

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