I stopped by one of my favorite fruit vendors at my farmers market a few weeks ago to purchase plums. I usually buy the large ones with the bright red flesh, but I overheard another shopper singing the praises of the tiny, little damson plums. Not wanting to miss out on anything, I placed a few of those in my bag, as well. When I arrived home, I was delighted to find a sweet, Day-Glo green flesh hidden inside the dark purple skin. Sometimes big surprises really do come in small packages.
When I was in culinary school — almost two decades ago — I learned to make a delicious plum barbecue sauce. Sweet, juicy, fresh plums replace the more predictable tomato product, and a little cayenne gives it a nice kick. I’ve made the sauce countless times over the years, both at home and in professional kitchens, and it’s always great. But I honestly don’t think I perfected it until I found the sublime plums, chicken, and brioche rolls at my farmers’ market. It’s a good reminder that great can always be better.