Friday, December 10, 2010

David Lebovitz's Roasted Figs

Call it a tendency to watch too many talk shows when I was little, but growing up, I had a fear of being abducted and probed by aliens. Blame, Phill Doahue, or who ever, but I just imagined one sunny afternoon, while sitting outside, reading a book, and sipping iced tea, a small being, with a large egg shaped head, large eyes and no visible mouth to speak of, would come up to me and beam me into his/her ship to take random tissue samples, perhaps an egg or two out of my uterus. This was the hyped imagination of a growing child, understandable. What is not understandable is the fact that I listened to a podcast the other day in which the fact was stated, and then discussed that a quarter of American's believe they have been abducted by aliens. What? I digress.

I didn't get into figs years after my fear of being abducted by aliens subsided, actually, not until recently did I really begin to love figs outside of the blanket of cake cookie that is the Fig Newton. Now I love them and cannot get enough. I used this particular recipe for roasted figs as a topping for a green salad with blue cheese - delicious. Now, go out and grab yourself some figs and get yourself a roasting.

Use a baking dish or pan that will allow you to bake the figs in a single layer. One that is 2 quarts (2l) should do it. Depending on where you live, fresh fig season is near the end of summer and mid-autumn and the best place to find fresh figs is at a farmers market.

1 pound (450g) fresh figs
4-6 branches fresh thyme
2 tablespoons red wine or liquor, such as Chartreuse, Pernod, Grand Marnier or Cointreau
1 tablespoon dark or light brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
three 1-inch (3cm) strips of fresh lemon zest

1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC).

2. Slice the touch stem end off the figs and slice each in half lengthwise.

3. Toss the figs in a large baking dish with the thyme, red wine or liquor, brown sugar, honey, and lemon zest. Turn the figs so that they are all cut side down in the baking dish, in a single layer.

4. For figs that are softer and juicier, cover the baking dish snugly with foil and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the figs are softened and cooked through.

For figs that are firmer, with less liquid, roast them in the oven, uncovered, for 30 minutes, or until cooked through.

5. When done, remove the baking dish from oven, lift off the foil, and let the figs cool completely.
Variation: For more savory figs, replace the liquor with one or two tablespoons balsamic or sherry vinegar.

Storage: Roasted figs can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Rating = Put Em In Your Face

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