Figs: No longer just for Newtons?
I wasn't sure whether to post this in General Topics or Home Cooking, but here goes nothing. This week, Publix has figs on sale (buy one/get one free), and they had two varieties, Black Mission and Brown Turkey. Not knowing the difference, I bought a one-pound plastic container of each for a total of $5.99 -- still an indulgence by my standards.
I also picked up a little bit of thin-sliced prosciutto and much cheaper Publix brand serrano ham, as I've heard figs are good wrapped with salty cured meats. But do the figs need to be peeled, or can I just eat them whole? They seem like a real summery treat, but what else do people like to do with them?
I used to pick 'em and eat 'em straight from my grandmother's tree. Here is her recipe as my aunt now uses it - Niether of them measure anything, so the quantities are definitely approximate. But it's too easy not to try.... and oh so good on a weekend morning with toast and coffee. My aunt cans hers, but after opening, I've kept them in the cold part of the fridge for over a month with no problem. I like to make them stretch as long as possible!
This is very subjective as it’s my grandmother’s recipe and as most grandmother’s cooked, she never measured. I don’t like overly sweet preserves and in spite of what seems to be a lot of sugar, they are not overly sweet. Serve with biscuits, toast, scones, etc. Use any remaining syrup for pancakes. I'm thinking they were mission figs - dark brown, maybe a little longer than an inch and about as big around. Grown on the coast in MS.
1 gallon whole figs (washed)
Dump in boiling water
* Turn off heat and let figs set for 3-4 min
Pour off water
Add enough sugar to cover with about an inch of sugar (about 5 cups)
Let set overnight to mascerate and make a syrup - do not add extra water
Next morning, simmer figs and syrup (probably covered) until figs are softened (you want to be able to easily smash them on a plate with a fork) and syrup is desired consistency (thick or thin – remember as the syrup cools, it will thicken and become sweeter). At some point after sugar has completely dissolved, taste one of the figs with syrup to see if they are sweet enough. Make adjustments as needed.
* This may be to eliminate any bitterness from cooking???
I eat them whole (never had a problem w/ the roof of my mouth either). They are great sliced and served over a sweetened ricotta cheese w/ a drizzle of honey and a sprinkle of toasted almonds. Stuff them with some gorgonzola, wrap in prosciutto and pop under the broiler for a minute or two.
I just made a drunken fig jam that made me dance it was so damned good! I adore figs!
I've never heard of them irritating the roof of your mouth.
Eat them whole when they're really squishy - they'd feel rotten if they were any other fruit. Push them to the limit, but not until they're dry.
Seek out the Adriatic variety - it's a kind of green fig that tastes like raspberries, vanilla, and a bit of tobacco. Turkish, Kabota, and Desert King are the least flavorful varieties. Mission have a bit stronger caramel and vanilla notes.
Figs are also one of those things that when they're good, they're great. Kind of like olive oil or great fish...they really stand alone. That said, I like them with mascarpone for breakfast, and you can never go wrong with a salty cheese.