Saturday, August 07, 2010

Little Jack Horner's Olives

See this jar of little misshapen potatoes?
They are plums, not potatoes.
They don't look like plums, and they certainly don't look like the umeboshi I was aiming for.
Well, they weren't ume plums to begin with, so what did I expect? They were unripe green gage plums, a little large, a little thick of skin. I tried anyway.
I couldn't be bothered to find fresh red shiso leaves, so I settled for a jar of dried red shiso flakes seasoned with salt and sugar.
The only other ingredient in the recipe is salt. As a first timer, I decided to shoot for a midrange level of saltiness, but day after day I found myself sprinkling in more shiso flakes, and the salt that came with them.
The plums never did turn red. They turned salty. But, to be fair, they taste deliciously of shiso. It's a magic, sort of licorice-y flavor.
At the end of the curing and drying period, Cranky and I sampled one plum. Salty. But, oh! It's... it's... an olive! With that magic shiso flavor.
I'd call it a success.


cook eat FRET said...

your comment on my blog made me laugh at loud.

peter barrett would definitely want these plums. you know how he is...

cookiecrumb said...

Claudia: Aw. Hee. Guffaw.
Yeah, Peter is grating bottarga all over shit; he ain't getting my umeboshi.
(I'll make a bigger batch next year, and then we can all share.)

Denise | Chez Danisse said...

I do not yet know this taste. I have some umeboshi vinegar, but haven't opened it yet. I love olives. Maybe these plums would make me happy. I'm intrigued.

cookiecrumb said...

Denise: That "vinegar" is gold. It's comprised of the juice that leaks from the plums, fermented, plus salt and shiso. Taste some!
As for the "olives," ours are tough and green, and this seemed like the kindest nomenclature.
Real umeboshi are tender and plum-like. Pink and small and pretty. (You wouldn't thinks of olives at all.) Japantown, off you go!

Greg said...

Sounds so good. I must admit I've never tried anything like that but your descriptions rocks.

cookiecrumb said...

Greg: They came out a bit... "rugged." The genuine Japanese version is so pretty and tender (and, still, salty). You might be able to find some at the Asian Market in San Rafael.
I'm going to try again next year, with plums not quite so UNRIPE.

Denise | Chez Danisse said...

I tasted it and you were right. I'm a fan. Now to try the actual fermented plums...

cookiecrumb said...

Denise: Now I gotta get some!