Circles of rye crisp roughly broken, sweet-tart plums and pluots oozing pink juices, creamy blue cheese releasing its pungent aroma from where it sits on a platter–these are the makings of a summer appetizer that came together the other day in preparation for a family dinner.
We strive to eat with the seasons in my home–berries and corn in the summer, apples and squash in the fall. I’ve been noticing lately that with its emphasis on seasonal and local foods, Seattle’s approach to eating mirrors the Nordic culinary philosophy. Farmers markets pop up all over the city, some running year-round. Many people plant edible gardens. Foraging for berries and mushrooms is a favorite pastime.
Today’s recipe, while hardly traditional, reflects that seasonal sensibility and makes use of some favorite Scandinavian ingredients. I’ll be honest, I manage to get to the farmers market less frequently than I would like. But even though the grocery stores around here stock virtually all types of produce all year long, I take care to shop wisely and focus on what’s fresh and at the peak of deliciousness. In this case, plums and pluots.
They’re pretty, aren’t they? After attending a food styling and photography workshop with Aran Goyoaga of Cannelle et Vanille this past weekend, I couldn’t wait to apply what I had learned in the dishes that I would create at home. These deep purple black plums and speckled orange pluots caught my eye and as I gathered a few to put in my cart, an appetizer began to take shape in my mind. Creamy blue cheese to offset the tart sweetness of the fruit, walnuts to give crunch, bright green dill for color, a drizzle of honey, and some crispbbread–that’s all it would take.
Simplicity in the kitchen has been a hard thing for me to learn, but time and time again I see proof that when you start with good ingredients, you don’t need to do much to make them shine. This particular recipe requires no cooking, only requiring that you start with the best ingredients you can find and that you slow down and enjoy the process of preparing the ingredients and lovingly arranging them on a platter. Once it’s ready, bring it out to your guests, open up some ice-cold refreshing beers, and sit down and enjoy the summer sun.
Plums with Blue Cheese, Walnuts, and Crispbread
An Outside Oslo Original
4 plums, or a combination of plums and pluots
6 ounces blue cheese*
3 ounces walnuts
1 small bunch fresh dill
Honey, for drizzling
2 large circles of crispbread, roughly broken into large pieces
Halve the plums, discard the pits, and cut into thin wedges. Arrange on a platter with the blue cheese and walnuts. Roughly chop the dill and scatter over the fruit. Drizzle honey over the fruit and serve with a bowl of crispbread pieces.
*I used gorgonzola for this recipe. If you enjoy the strong flavor of Danish blue cheese, then go ahead and use it for an extra Scandinavian touch; I wanted to create a dish that would please a wide range of palates so I chose something a little lighter.