Today is the last day of my second month of this resolution, and while I won't be halfway through this first stage until tomorrow (since February's so stinkin' short) I feel a sense of accomplishment. That might also have something to do with the beautiful dish I cooked for tonight's dinner. The only mistake I made was forgetting to garnish with parsley (the picture would probably be much prettier had I remembered), but still, this was basically restaurant food. It's all thanks to the wonderful Emeril Lagasse, who wrote the recipe for pork chops stewed with apples and prunes, with mashed sweet potatoes.
You may recall that I tried a prune once before, and it did not go over well. On their own, prunes are another of those foods for the toothless, or those whose lives could be a little more regular. I wondered, for a long while, whether anybody actually ate these things outside of nursing homes. I was up on my anti-prune high horse. And then I searched the internet for recipes containing prunes, and I was knocked back down.
It seems that prunes are often good with pork or duck. I found a recipe for prune clafoutis, which sounds strange but interesting. Prune tarts. Prune jams. Chickens with prune and prune ice cream. I guess people really eat them. And I have to say, with pork and apples, they are really, really good.
The key to a good prune recipe, I think, is that everything be cooked down. You have to expect a more mushy, stewed-type texture, so the prune won't throw you off. Every recipe I found seems to cook them a fairly long while, in stuffings or in puddings, and that makes sense to me. That's playing to their strengths, really. And while I still don't think I'll be eating them as snack food, I am really interested in trying more dishes a la prunes. Also, I would very much like to see them appear as a secret ingredient on Iron Chef America --prepared by Mike Symon or Cat Cora. Do you hear me, Food Network producers? Hop to it.