Don’t just save fruit for dessert

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From tart blackberries to sweet strawberries and juicy peaches fruit obviously lends itself to desserts: fruit pies, crumbles, compote cake, fruit in ice cream … the list goes on, says Garry Watson, chef proprietor of Gordon’s Restaurant in Inverkeilor.

However, there’s also a savoury side to fresh fruit that definitely deserves our attention. Too many people forget or simply wouldn’t think to put fruit in savoury dishes, but fresh fruit in particular can really add something special to your recipes.

When combined with the right ingredients, fruit can take on a savoury flavour that’s far removed from dessert territory – and just as good.

Dishes such as blackberry and honey glazed pork ribs, smoked chicken salad with pickled strawberries, sweet potato blinis with blackcurrant salsa and duck with apple and red cabbage compote all work amazingly well.

Or try ending a lovely dinner the savoury way with my cheese course recipe of Arran Blue with balsamic glazed plums, pine nuts and mint: boil 350ml of balsamic vinegar with a pinch of sugar and reduce until three quarters volume and thickened to a syrup. Place 4 pitted and quartered ripe plums to the syrup, gently coat and slowly cook for around 6 minutes, then allow to cool in the syrup. Meanwhile assemble some sliced Arran Blue cheese on a serving plate and arrange plums on top, then drizzle with remaining syrup and a little rapeseed oil. Finish with a sprinkling of toasted pine nuts and a little chopped fresh mint. Enjoy with a glass of vintage port. If you’re not a blue cheese fan the recipe also works well with buffalo mozzarella or goats cheese.

Chef’s tip

We tend to get a glut of fruit at this time of year so use it up and preserve by making savoury fruit compote/chutney. Simply cook 2 chopped shallots in a little oil until soft, add 50g of chopped walnuts, 1 tsp finely chopped rosemary and 500g of desired chopped fruit (cherries, plums, blackcurrants etc). Cook gently for 5 minutes then add 75ml of port or cassis and boil down to a compote. This serves well with grilled pork, chicken or duck.