Monday, April 13, 2009

Stewed Figs

For me the fig season all too often passes by in the blink of an eye. I seem to miss those precious few weeks (days) when figs are just right in terms of quality and price. It's a grey area, I feel, between figs that are early season and exorbitantly priced and figs that are late season and terrible quality. (Clearly I'm not blessed with a tree in my backyard).

I did happen to pick up a punnet a short time ago that was filled with plump, unblemished figs and I feasted on them for 3 days straight. I enjoyed figs, rocket and feta as a salad and figs with melted blue cheese alongside steak. The third night however saw the few remaining figs looking a little worse for wear. Clearly they needed cooking but I wanted something quick. My favourite fig dessert from a few years ago involved grilled fruit drizzled with redcurrant sauce, but this was a complex process of frying, grilling and then reducing the sauce.

To solve my problem I found this reciped for Stewed Figs, cut out from an ancient Good Weekend magazine (you'd expect nothing less from me surely). The use of basil was intriguing, but quite appropriate as my plant was bordering on going to seed and I was trying to use it as much as possible before trimming back. In the end the basil complimented the light sweetness of the overall dish and I enjoyed the last of my figs immensely.

150g sugar
200ml water
1cm piece ginger, peeled and julienned
1/2 lemon, zested
1/4 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped and removed
8 medium sized figs
6 basil leaves, torn
Good Greek yoghurt
Bring to a simmer the sugar, water, ginger, lemon zest and vanilla. Gently cook for 5 minutes to draw the aromatics from the spices.
Place the halved figs skin-side down into the hot syrup and cook for 5 minutes. Carefully turn the figs in the pan so that the flesh is facing down, add the torn basil leaves and cook for 5 more minutes.
If your figs are not completely ripe they may need a little more cooking. If overripe, take care they don't break apart and become pulpy. For presentation purposes the figs need to keep their figgy shape.
Let the cooked fruit cool and serve in a bowl with plenty of the cooking syrup and some yoghurt on the side.


Maria@TheGourmetChallenge said...

oh how I adore figs. Stewed figs sounds like such a hearty way to eat them, put some vanilla bean ice cream ontop and I'm in heaven!

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My delicious blog said...

I love figs! Great to see food lovers around!

Nastie Pastie said...

where did you go? why haven't you been writing lately?

オテモヤン said...
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