Falling for Italian Prune Plums

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The autumnal equinox arrived precisely this morning at 4:21 a.m. It is the moment, happening twice a year, when the sun passes directly over the equator. In Latin, the word “equinox” means “equal night” – “equi” meaning “equal” and “nox” meaning “night.” Theoretically giving us equal parts of daylight and darkness. I read recently that the half light and half dark will actually happen on Saturday, September 26 when the sunrise will be at 6:59 a.m. and the sunset will be at 6:59 p.m. EST. So maybe a few more days of Summer? (I know, wishful thinking!) The farmers markets have been transitioning into Fall for the past few weeks now. This past weekend was probably the last of the tomatoes, and replaced by beautiful cooler weather vegetables like the carrots, beets and greens we saw in the Spring. There are a few fun Fall items popping up now, like apples and Italian prune plums.

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Putting my savory twist on things for Fall, I made a very tasty quinoa filling using the pretty Italian prune plums, for collards. You can easily use a nice big chard leaf too, but the collard has a slightly bitter flavor which works beautifully with the quinoa-plum. Not to mention the gorgeous vibrant colors.

To read more about the evolution of this dish click this link: Falling for Italian Prune Plums.

Buon Appetito!

One year ago: Cooking with Winter Squash
Two years ago: Kabocha Squash
Three years ago: Kohlrahbi

Falling for Italian Prune Plums

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup dry quinoa, 2 cups cooked
  • 6-8 collard leaves, chard leaves will work too, but blanch them for just 1 minute
  • 3/4 cup shallot, peeled and sliced into 1/2" pieces
  • 1 fat garlic clove, very thinly sliced
  • Avocado, grapeseed or canola oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • 2 cups Italian prune plums, quartered, sliced 1/4", about 4 large ones
  • 8 juniper berries, crushed, optional
  • 1 orange
  • 2 tablespoons of loosely packed fresh parsley

Instructions

  1. Cook the quinoa according the package instructions. Once done drain and set in a mesh colander to cool.
  2. Blanch the collard leaves for 2 minutes in boiling salted water. Remove and shock in an ice bath. Drain and set aside.
  3. In a medium saute pan cook the shallot and garlic in 2 tablespoons of flavorless oil over medium heat, season with salt and pepper, for 3-5 minutes. Add the plums and juniper berries and cook for another 3-5 minutes. Once the plums are soft and just start to slightly fall apart turn off the heat and add the zest from the whole orange. Then cut in half, using the juice and bits from one half. Mix in the cooked quinoa and parsley. Taste for seasoning and set aside.
  4. Lay your collard leaf flat on a cutting board and carefully remove the tough stem, 3/4 of the way up. Overlap the two sides slightly and place 3-4 tablespoons of filling near the end of the roll. Fold the sides in and roll it up. Repeat for all the leaves.
  5. Juice the remaining half of the orange and make a quick vinaigrette using the oil, salt and pepper. Drizzle the over the rolls just before serving.
  6. You can enjoy the rolls at room temperature, or slightly warmed. Take care to not heat them too much. The pretty vibrant green with fade quickly.
http://food.lohudblogs.com/2015/09/23/italian-prune-plums/

Italian Prune Plum and Quinoa Filled Collard Rolls
Makes about 4 – 6 servings

1/2 cup dry quinoa, 2 cups cooked
6-8 collard leaves, chard leaves will work too, but blanch them for just 1 minute
3/4 cup shallot, peeled and sliced into 1/2″ pieces
1 fat garlic clove, very thinly sliced
Avocado, grapeseed or canola oil
Kosher salt
Ground black pepper
2 cups Italian prune plums, quartered, sliced 1/4″, about 4 large ones
8 juniper berries, crushed, optional
1 orange
2 tablespoons of loosely packed fresh parsley

1. Cook the quinoa according the package instructions. Once done drain and set in a mesh colander to cool.
2. Blanch the collard leaves for 2 minutes in boiling salted water. Remove and shock in an ice bath. Drain and set aside.
3. In a medium saute pan cook the shallot and garlic in 2 tablespoons of flavorless oil over medium heat, season with salt and pepper, for 3-5 minutes. Add the plums and juniper berries and cook for another 3-5 minutes. Once the plums are soft and just start to slightly fall apart turn off the heat and add the zest from the whole orange. Then cut in half, using the  juice and bits from one half. Mix in the cooked quinoa and parsley. Taste for seasoning and set aside.
4. Lay your collard leaf flat on a cutting board and carefully remove the tough stem, 3/4 of the way up. Overlap the two sides slightly and place 3-4 tablespoons of filling near the end of the roll. Fold the sides in and roll it up. Repeat for all the leaves.
5. Juice the remaining half of the orange and make a quick vinaigrette using the oil, salt and pepper. Drizzle the over the rolls just before serving.
6. You can enjoy the rolls at room temperature, or slightly warmed. Take care to not heat them too much. The pretty vibrant green with fade quickly.

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About Author

Seasonal Chef blogger Maria Reina comes to the world of food as a third career, spending a great portion of her adult life in the field of Human Resources. With her private company Bella Cucina Maria she is a personal chef, caterer and recreational cooking class teacher in Westchester. She’s an avid food television watcher and cookbook collector, always looking for a new take on a traditional dish. In her free time she loves hanging out at local farmer’s markets, chatting it up with the farmers and doing cooking demos with their seasonal ingredients. In addition to her blog, which is loaded with easy recipes, you can follow her on Facebook (Bella Cucina Maria), Twitter (Bellacucinam), Instagram (Bellacucinam) and Pinterest (Bellacucinam).

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