With the late summer avalanche of corn, tomatoes, and bell peppers, it’s easy to overlook the humble plum. Subtly flavored and modestly sized, plums aren’t as flashy or culinarily ubiquitous as other September produce. It’s unusual to spot them in side dishes, and peaches frequently overshadow them in desserts. Yet, given the right stage, these juicy, inexpensive stone fruits will shine like ... well, newly washed plums.
Cooking Light's recipe for Sugar-Roasted Plums with Balsamic and Rosemary Syrup is just such a stage. Plums are drenched in a mixture of vanilla, rosemary, sugar, and balsamic vinegar, and cooked in a 400°F oven for 20 minutes. Then, right before serving, the vinegar concoction is reduced and poured over the fruit. The result is a substantial, unusual, dang tasty delicacy that seems much more indulgent than its 140 calories.
Of course, if you’re not completely satisfied with the dish served warm, store it in the fridge and wait a few days. Given time, the plums will become saturated in syrup, and you’ll need an aluminum bat to fend off tempted roommates.
One final note: this recipe includes a whole vanilla bean, which, in addition to costing a small fortune, can be difficult to hunt down in the average supermarket. (Logically, my Brooklyn Key Food keeps them behind the customer service counter, between Best Buy gift cards and eyeglass repair kits.) If finding one becomes a problem, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract should make a solid, frugal substitute.
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 6 tablespoons sugar, divided
- 10 black peppercorns
- 1 vanilla bean, split
- 12 small unpeeled plums (about 3 1/2 pounds)
- 8 fresh rosemary sprigs, divided
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Combine water, vinegar, 4 tablespoons sugar, and peppercorns, stirring with a whisk until sugar dissolves. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean; add seeds and bean to vinegar mixture. Place plums in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Pour vinegar mixture over plums. Nestle 2 rosemary sprigs around plums into vinegar mixture. Sprinkle evenly with 2 tablespoons sugar.
Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until plums are tender (skin will begin to split on some plums).
Remove plums with a slotted spoon to a serving platter. Strain vinegar mixture into a small nonaluminum saucepan; discard solids. Bring vinegar mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-high; cook until reduced to 3/4 cup (about 5 minutes). Pour syrup evenly over plums; garnish with rosemary sprigs.