Figs Glorious Figs
Although figs date all the way back to ancient times, it’s true that they have never been trendier than today. Chefs increasingly use the delicious fruit in the most imaginative ways and deliver dishes that could “wow” even the hardest to please guests. So next time you’re hosting a tough crowd dinner, why not go fig crazy in the kitchen? You’ll soon discover that this is one of the few ingredients that will never let you down.
Shopping For The Right Figs
When you’re shopping for your dinner, make sure you choose clean and dry figs. Although they should be ripe and soft, refrain from buying figs that have lost their shape and become too delicate. Generally, they are classified by their color, so there are varieties of white, red and black figs.
Black Genoa figs are quite dark, with red and white seeds inside, and they are by far the most common variety you will find in stores. Adriatic figs are better enjoyed dried and Brown Turkey figs are large, dark purple figs that tend to be extremely juicy. Both these types are usually avoided in cooking. Finally, Mission figs are known for their chewy texture, Calimyrna figs stand out thanks to their sweet flavor and Kadota figs feature a light green color and tend to be a little less sweet than the other varieties.
Stick to Black Genoa figs if you can, and remember not to cook them. The preparation of the fruit is extremely simple. All you need to do is wash them and cut them, either half or in four pieces, so that the fruit opens like a flower. Once you have done so, you are ready to create a set of mouth-watering dishes, from starters to desserts.
Begin by making a simple and fast starter which involves toasted bread, figs, honey, cream cheese and nuts. As the ingredients feature unique flavors that compliment one another, feel free to improvise and make your starter dish entirely your own. This is just an idea of how you could approach it. Toast a few slices of brown bread with butter and blend a couple of figs, cream cheese and macadamia nuts until you get a unanimous mixture. Spread the toasted bread with a fair amount of the fig and cream mixture and only minutes before you serve, put the toasted bread in a warm oven. Leave it for five minutes and pour a little honey and some extra crushed nuts over each piece of toast before you serve.
Fig Main Course
For your main course, a good idea would be to combine figs with rice, preferably, wild rice. There are many great combinations that will all lead to an amazing main dish, but here’s a suggestion to provide you with a solid base. Boil some water and throw the rice in. Leave it until it’s cooked. If you opt for wild rice, it may take up to an hour until it’s fully ready. Once it’s done, drain and leave it aside for a while.
Chop an onion and five cloves of garlic and cook them in a pan for a few seconds with a little olive oil. When it’s crispy, add salt and pepper. Stir the rice with the cooked mixture and leave it for a few seconds to breathe. Serve the rice in a platter and cut four figs in 1/4 chunks which you will place over the top. Serve either with some honey or gravy sauce above the sliced figs.
The easiest, fastest but also most impressive fig dessert is no doubt the fig chocolate tart. You can make either one big one for all your guests, or a few small individual tartlets for each one of your visitors to enjoy. Begin by greasing a big tart pan or several smaller ones. Make the crust by mixing a cup of flour with two tablespoons of coconut oil and a touch of baking soda and salt in a bowl. You can add a bit of honey to make it softer and sweeter. Mix well and then press your dough evenly into the pan using your fingers. Put it in the fridge for 30 minutes.
During the time that the base is chilling, preheat the oven to 350 F. Then put the base in the oven and leave for ten minutes. While it’s cooking, prepare the chocolate. Cook half a cup of coconut milk in a pan and then melt 100 grams of dark chocolate in the milk. Let it simmer, while you keep stirring. Take the base out of the oven and leave it to cool. Place a row of 1/4 fig slices along the top of the base and then pour the chocolate and coconut milk mixture over them evenly. They should cover the fruits completely. Put the tart in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes. When you’re ready to serve the dessert to your guests, place another row of 1/4 fig slices over the top of the tart.