French Plums And Tomatoes: The Stars of The Indian Summer

By Keda Black

From mid-August to October is when French plums and tomatoes are at their best, in every way. Wonder at how they adapt to satisfy your every culinary desire: the possibilities are as endless as the summer...

French Tomatoes

In this article

As they come

Mix it up! Choose ripe, plump tomatoes, for example a ribbed variety, with tender flesh. These are rustic, meaty and reminiscent of garden tomatoes. Garnish with slices of Quetsch d’Alsace plums, which are naturally quite firm and sweet. Season with fleur de sel, small basil leaves and an infused olive oil for 10 minutes over a very low heat, with a vanilla pod that you have split in half. Serve with mozzarella.

In a coulis

Have fun making different colored raw coulis: purple, red, green, yellow... Take very ripe, sweet fruits (tomatoes or plums) and pass them through a vegetable mill fitted with a fine disc or mix them before passing them through a fine sieve. Balance with a little lemon juice and a pinch of sugar if necessary. Serve with unsweetened ewe’s curd for a cheese and dessert sensation.

In the oven

Take some small, elongated tomatoes. Cut them in half, remove the juice and drizzle with olive oil, then cook them gently for 2 hours, at 100 °C (212 °F). Serve in sandwiches, salads, etc. And how about trying a savory plum dish, oriental style? With the Ente variety for example, which have a very sweet flesh that is prized for making the famous Agen Prunes. Roast 4 chicken thighs and 600 g (21 oz) of pitted Ente plums, drizzled all over with a mixture of 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of coriander seeds and another of crushed cumin, 3-4 sprigs of thyme, a pinch of cinnamon and 6 chopped French shallots, in an oven dish for 1 hour, at 170 °C (338 °F). Serve with couscous.

© ©Natacha Brend

In a pie

No more soggy bottoms! Brush them with egg white before pre-cooking. Then, why not add a little something extra? How about layering some PGI Mirabelle plums from Lorraine, which are small in size but very juicy and sweet on the palate, over sponge fingers or unfilled macaroons, with crumbled almonds. Or perhaps placing some Quetsch d’Alsace plums on a cream made with 60 g (2.1 oz) of ground toasted almonds, mixed with 1 egg, 50 g (1.8 oz) of softened butter, 40 g (1.4 oz) of sugar and a drop of whiskey. For a savory twist, layer tomatoes over 60 g (2.1 oz) of ground almonds and 3 tablespoons of pesto. For a beautiful chromatic effect, alternate slices of Noire de Crimée tomatoes with slices of a ribbed, round variety. And go for rustic chic! To do this, arrange your fruit in the center of a disc of pastry, fold the free edges over the filling, and add your sauce without further ado.


Fill hollowed-out, round tomatoes, such as the Rose de Berne variety, with a classic stuffing of rice and sausage meat or for a vegetarian version, quinoa, aromatic herbs and chopped zucchini. For dessert, make way for pitted, very sweet and juicy, Label Rouge green Reines-Claudes plums. Stuff them with Amaretti biscuits which have been crushed and then bound with butter and an egg, before roasting them for 30 minutes at 190 °C (375 °F). You will be transported by the wonderful aroma, without leaving your kitchen.

As a condiment

Conjure up a home-made ketchup with elongated, Cornue-variety tomatoes: cook 1.5 kg (3.3 lbs) of these cut fruits with 4 onions, 4 cloves of garlic, 150 g (5.3 oz) of sugar and the same quantity of apple cider vinegar, a generous pinch of allspice, and a little cinnamon and cumin, for 30 minutes. Mix, strain, and thicken on the heat for another 40 minutes before storing in sterilized jars. Make your plums into a chutney! Cook 1 kg (2.2 lbs) of different varieties of fruit for about 1 hour with the zest and juice of an orange, 4 shallots, previously browned in a little oil, 3 cloves, 2 bay leaves, 1 cinnamon stick, a pinch of allspice, 300 g (10.6 oz) of sugar and the same quantity of vinegar. Enjoy with barbecued mackerel or a well-aged Cantal cheese.

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