“You can't just eat good food. You've got to talk about it too. And you've got to talk about it to somebody who understands that kind of food.”

― Kurt Vonnegut

Thursday, September 6, 2012

irresistible ripe Summer figs...

about this time of year I start craving fresh figs, and this year I have been honored by being asked to participate in Maywood Farms annual Big Fig Gig...

below are a couple of simple tasty fig recipes I developed for the event, enjoy!

caramelized fig, fresh tomato, red onion & toasted walnut salad with Summer herbs, feta & balsamic vinaigrette

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons dark brown or Muscovado sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups quartered fresh figs (about 1/2 pound), I am using Kadota & Black Mission varieties for nice color in this recipe
1 cup toasted walnut pieces
1 cup ripe cherry tomatoes, halved
3/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup (1 ounce) crumbled feta cheese (other types of cheese such as pecorino romano and fresh chevre can be substituted for the goat feta in this recipe)
sea salt to taste

For this recipe, use any fig variety you like or a combination of varieties. To caramelize the figs spread them on a baking sheet and sprinkle them with the sugar. Pop them into an oven preheated to 400 degrees for about 15 minutes. Allow to cool and transfer to a bowl. Combine first 3 ingredients in a large bowl and stir well with a whisk. Add the figs, tomatoes, red onion, walnuts, mint and basil and toss gently to coat. Sprinkle with cheese. Add sea salt to taste. Use this delicious, seasonal salad to top garlicky crostini, creamy polenta, flatbread pizzettas, a bed of seasonal greens such as arugula or a grilled lamb chop. Feel free to substitute ingredients as needed, I also like to use fresh parsley and coriander, as well as pistachios, almonds or pine nuts in this dish for flavor variations. Makes 4, 1 1/2 cup servings.

gingered, coriander fig & eggplant chutney

2 cups red wine vinegar (or a mix of red wine & cider vinegar)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar (I like dark Muscovado for this)
1 cinnamon stick
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
1 tablespoon ground coriander seed
1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds or whole grain mustard
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons sea salt plus more to taste
1 large red onion, peeled and diced
1/4 cup minced fresh ginger
1/4 cup chopped dried cherries or raisins
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes
1 cup diced apple
1/2 cup minced carrot
1 1/4 pounds fresh figs, rinsed, stems removed & halved
1 large eggplant, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
2 tablespoons prepared catsup
1/4 cup prepared marmalade
Minced zest of 1/2 lemon
1/3 cup pistachios, toasted and lightly chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander
freshly ground black pepper

In a large saucepan combine the vinegars, sugar, cinnamon stick, cloves, pepper flakes, ancho chile, coriander, mustard seeds, worcestershire, sea salt, lemon zest, onion, ginger and cherries or raisins, sun dried tomatoes, apple and carrot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until mixture is thickened and reduced by 2/3, forming a thick syrup. Add the figs and the eggplant and cook gently until they are very soft, beginning to fall apart and most of the liquid they've given off has evaporated, about 30 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick. Add the lemon juice, catsup, marmalade, fresh coriander and pistachios. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Stir well. Transfer the chutney to a non-reactive container and allow to come to room temperature before serving. The chutney may be made up to 3 weeks in advance and stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container. It is wonderful served atop grilled or oven roasted fish, chicken, pork or lamb. Makes 6 cups.

some figgy history...

a main dish recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi which is lovely to eat and features ripe figs & humble sweet potatoes intertwined, a pleasantly surprising combination...

and last but not least, an old standby to knock your late Summer socks off...


  1. Mouthwatering. Wish it was easy to get them here. We love to cut them in half , toss them in oliveoit salt pepper and suger. Then grill
    Them and toss them in a fresh garden salad with som Parmesan !

  2. That sounds absolutely delicious! I do wish our families could enjoy some ripe figs together...CA and Sweden are way to far apart!