VIDEO: What Do You Do with Pluots? with Kim Alter & K&J Orchards

Chef Kim Alter of San Francisco’s Nightbird Restaurant (L) visits Aomboon Deasy of K&J Orchards (R). (CUESA)

What is a pluot, and what makes them special? Chef Kim Alter of San Francisco’s Nightbird Restaurant visits Aomboon Deasy of K&J Orchards during peak pluot season to learn more about this star summer fruit⁠—part plum, part apricot—and shares five unexpected ways to enjoy and prepare pluots at home.

Beloved by chefs for their tree-ripened and hand-harvested fruit, K&J Orchards grows more than 180 varieties of fruits and nuts in Winters and Yuba City, California, from cherries and apricots in the spring to persimmons and pomegranates in the fall. Started by Kalayada Ammatya and James Beutel⁠—a professor of pomology (the study of fruit)⁠—the farm is now managed by their daughter, Aomboon (nicknamed “Boonie”), and her husband, Tim.

Aomboon and Tim grow dozens of stone fruit varieties throughout the summer and fall season, including pluots, a plum-leaning hybrid stone fruit. The skin of the pluot resembles a plum and the flesh is juicy and sweet due to its high sugar content. Available at the farmers market May through October, you can find them in a rainbow of colors, from yellow-green to deep purple, with popular varietals such as Flavor King and Dapple Dandy.

You can support K&J Orchards at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market in San Francisco on Saturdays and Tuesdays, and visit the Nightbird website for their farmers market inspired meal kit menu.

Kim Alter will be participating in CUESA's Sunday Supper: A Farm to Home Feast on October 18. Learn more.

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Pluot and Mustard Green Salad

Source: Kim Alter, Nightbird

This light and refreshing rustic salad hits all the notes: acidity and sweetness from the pluots, pepperiness from the mustard greens, and richness from the cheese.

Serves 2 (can easily be scaled up to serve more people)

INGREDIENTS

2 ripe pluots (ideally whatever is best at the moment from K & J Orchards), washed
1 clove garlic
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
A couple handfuls spicy mustard greens, washed and dried
2 carrots, washed and shaved
2 turnips, washed and shaved
4 ounces fresh burrata or ricotta
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Olive oil, to taste
Bread (optional)

PREPARATION

Slice pluots in half and remove pits. Squeeze the juice into a bowl, then chop the pluots roughly and place them in the bowl with the juice. Crush the clove of garlic and put it in the bowl with the pluots. Pour the vinegar on top and let it sit for a few minutes while you assemble the salad.

Combine the mustard greens, carrots, and turnips to build your salad. Place the burrata on a plate, and season it with salt and pepper. Place the salad on top of the burrata.

Remove the pluot chunks from the juice-vinegar mixture (save the liquid, but toss the garlic) and add them to the salad. Whisk the olive oil into the reserved liquid little by little to make a vinaigrette, tasting for balance as you go. When it tastes good to you, drizzle a bit over the salad. Serve with seared bread to add a panzanella-like crunch.