I’m always sad to see the various fruits fade out of season, to return only in a year. Fortunately, others are always arriving in their stead. At the neighborhood greengrocer today, as I was mourning the present passing of the citrus fruits, soon to be followed by strawberries, I was pleased to see that plums and loquats were ready to fill the gap. Well, not really. All fruits have their own special place, at the very least in my heart and appetite.
Loquats, or shesek (שסק) in Hebrew, have been coming into season for a few weeks now. I put off buying them until now, as the price dropped from 20 shekels a kilo to … well, I admit I didn’t actually check the price when I bought them today. In any case, shesek season is now in full swing, so expect more loquat recipes.
In any case, I was inspired to turn my fresh fruit into a savory home-cooked meal, perhaps because I’ve been eating dinner at Falafel Gina for the past few days. The different hues of the fruit and vegetables came together beautifully — the orange of the shesek was complimented by the purple plums, the purple-orange carrots pulled the two together, and the fresh garlic cloves even had a slight hint of lavender. Just right for spring.
This dish can be accompanied by rice or couscous.
In the photo: The bowl was painted by monks at the Beit Jemal monastery. Beautiful, but chips very easily.
4 purple plums
2 carrots, preferably purple
12 garlic cloves (peels intact)
1/2 cup pecans or walnuts
small pinch cinnamon
small pinch nutmeg
Heat the oven to 240 degrees Celsius, or the maximum setting.
Quarter and pit the plums and loquats. Quarter the onion, and thinly slice the carrots. Wash and separate the garlic cloves but leave the peels intact.
Arrange all of the above in a baking pan with a small amount of olive oil, and bake for 40 minutes, stirring once or twice. Top with the nuts near the end, so that they become toasty but don’t burn.
Once the fruits are soft and the onion is cooked, remove from the oven. The garlic will be soft and creamy inside the peels. Season with salt, and a very small hint of cinnamon and nutmeg.