Excitement!!!! After two years of patting, trimming, singing to, and generally fawning over, my fig tree has burst forth. We – my daughter Fiona really – just harvested the very first ripe fig of our own production.
A generous girl, Fiona began to cut the fig in half. Mind you, the fig was the size of one of those large “bowler” marbles, so she really was being generous.
On cutting through the almost pistachio green exterior, she squealed. “Oh! It’s gorgeous inside.” And it was. Purple, honeyed, oozing with thick juice, it looked just like a grown-up fig. It tasted like one, too.
There are seven more figs on the tree. They’re pretty hard, but if our autumnal temperatures continue, they’ll soon be ripe, a real bumper crop. We’ll eat them just as they, right from the tree.
If you, though, have figs at your disposal, try the following recipe. I serve these as a side-dish to grilled magret de canard, roasted chicken, braised pigeon or any other game bird. I also serve them for dessert, with a scoop of fromage blanc and a drizzle of honey.
FRESH FIGS BAKED IN WINE
LES FIGUES FRAICHES AU VIN ROUGE
16 fresh figs
2 heaping tablespoons sugar
1 cup (250 ml) rich red wine, such as a wine from the Languedoc
1/3 cup (80ml) filtered water
3 tablespoons honey
2 branches fresh rosemary
1. Wipe off the figs with a clean towel and cut them in half, vertically. Place them in one layer, cut side down, in an oven-proof dish, sprinkle them with the sugar then pour the wine over them, along with the water. Bake until they are tender but haven’t lost their shape, about 30 minutes. Remove the figs from the oven.
2. Carefully pour the cooking juices from the figs into a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the honey and the rosemary and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer until the liquid has reduced to a thin syrup. Remove from the heat and reserve.
3. To serve, arrange 2 figs in a shallow bowl, and pour an equal amount of syrup around them. Garnish with the fresh rosemary, and serve immediately.