This month, we were aiming to be inspired by what’s growing where we live. For Denise, this means what her garden is producing. For me, it means actually making time to go to the farmer’s market. I love the farmer’s market, but I’m rather lousy at managing to go shopping at a specific time every week. I’ve managed to make it about once a month so far this summer.
At the end of August, we have everything up here. The first thing that drew me in was basil, which I love, but most often ends up in pesto, which I don’t like much. Since we also have amazing stone fruits, I decided to pair basil with late summer plums and make a sauce. This sauce tastes like summer to me, and while it’s not a flavor that would pair with most vegetables perfectly, it seems to pair perfectly with pork and chicken, if you eat meat, and would likely be great on tofu and tempeh as well, if you eat soy products. It might also be good on sweet potatoes, but I haven’t tried it. I appreciate how fabulously easy it is to make dinner more interesting with a good sauce.
The sauce takes about 40 minutes to make, but most of that is just cooking over low heat. You’ll end up with something of a consistency of a thin ketchup, a fruity acidity and very lightly floral (basil) flavor.
Mix plums, water, and oil in a saucepan, cover and heat over low heat for 10 minutes.
Stir well, and cover and cook for 10 more minutes.
Partially cover (leave the saucepan lid ajar) and cook for 5 more minutes.
Add 1 Tablespoon of basil, stir well, and cook uncovered for 5 more minutes, smashing the plum flesh down a bit if it's still not saucy enough.
Remove the sauce from the pan to a large measuring cup or heat-safe bowl, and then strain it back into the sauce pan. This will remove the basil you just added, though it's infused flavor, but it will also remove the plum skins and a bit of the fiber.
Add in the last 1T of basil, the pinch of salt, and the liquid sweetener. Stir well.
On the lowest setting, reduce the sauce by about 1/3 of the volume, letting it thicken up a bit. Now's the time to taste it and see if the salt level is right -- if you need to add more, cook it just long enough to dissolve the salt.
Should keep for about a week in the fridge, longer in the freezer (but I'm not sure how long).