The pluots set out for tasting were outstanding. Thin green peel, blood-red flesh, perfumed and heady. Like a gemologist, I pored over the pile fastidiously, rejecting any that were bruised, soft, or otherwise imperfect. I chose only firm ones, ideal for eating out of hand. No cooking, no pies, no crumbles. I'd keep them in the fridge for easy grabbing throughout the week. They'd pop slightly as my teeth punctured their taut skin.
Then I handed the bag to my eight-year-old, who happens to turn nine today.
Do you hear those sirens, Batman? Alarm bells are sounding in the distance.
A calm, mild-mannered child, he started swinging the bag haphazardly, banging it against his knee as we cased the rest of the farmers' market. Thunk. Thunk. I stopped to chat up a vendor about his beautiful black raspberries, which you'll hear about later this week.
What's that sound? Could it be thunder?
We meandered a bit more, picking up a Vietnamese salad roll on one end, a chicken empanada on the other. Thunk. Some purple cabbage. Thunk. Thunk. A zucchini, or maybe two.
Look, there's corn!
When we got home, I unpacked our wares. The veggies went right into the crisper. The salad roll on a plate.
And then, I saw them. THE HORROR.
The pluots had been beaten to a pulp, victims of a then-eight now nine-year-old's repetitive knee brutalization.
Destined to be cooked down, unquestionably, into sauce.
Pork was happy.
And when I tasted it, I was, too.
Recipe for Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Pluot Sauce
This takes a bit of coordination but hardly any effort. If you're clever, you'll make the sauce earlier in the day and re-warm it just before serving. If you don't have pluots, who's to say you couldn't try it with mushy plums? Not me.
3 pluots, pitted, halved, cut into a few rough chunks
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (the cheap stuff's fine)
1 tablespoon honey
kosher salt & pepper
1-1/4 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed of visible fat
a little olive oil
Preheat the grill over medium high heat. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. Puree the pluot chunks in the food processor (skin and all) until liquified. You'll have a good cup of liquid.
Scrape into a small saucepan with the balsamic, honey, and a good dose of salt and pepper to season. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a hard simmer.
Reduce the heat slightly and simmer, stirring frequently to prevent burning, until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat and set 1-1/2 tablespoons aside for basting.
Rub the tenderloin with a little olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Sear quickly on all sides directly over the grill flames, then turn off half the burners/flames, and move the pork to the cool half. Close the lid and grill until a thermometer registers 145 degrees in the center of the meat, about 20 to 25 minutes.
Baste with the reserved pluot sauce and grill an additional minute or two only. Remove from grill.
Let rest, tented with foil, for 5 minutes. Slice, nap with sauce, and serve.