Saturday, August 8, 2009

Fig Balsamic Sauce

My next door neighbor, the one who keeps me supplied with basil, offered me some fresh figs from the tree at her family farm. They were fresh and ripe and ready to be made into a sauce. Figs with balsamic vinegar is an italian classic. This sauce starts with that idea and some inspiration from, among others.
The aim is small containers of sauce that can be stored in the freezer and taken out to perk up a chicken breast or pork chop with some fruity goodness. It will be a good sauce for fruits, vegetables and salads, too. Drizzle some over chunks of good parmesan for a sumptuous appetizer or as part of a cheese course.
I imagine you could do this with dried figs, rehydrated with hot water, if fresh figs are not at hand. How about a sliced strawberry with a little stream of this and a tiny glass of champagne as an amuse-bouche? Over a lychee? Cauliflower! I'm salivating here!

  • 1 cup fresh figs, stemmed and quartered
  • 1 sweet onion, roughly chopped
  • needles from 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 6-8 whole cloves
  • 2 Tbl. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • In a non-reactive saucepan, sweat the onion, rosemary and cloves in the olive oil over low heat until the onions are soft but not colored.
  • Add the figs, vinegar and honey and bring to a simmer.
  • Let simmer on medium low for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Turn off the heat and let the mixture steep for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Whir briefly with an immersion blender or in the food processor and strain through a screen to remove the biggest pieces of skin, rosemary and cloves.
    Using a rubber spatula, stir the sauce against the screen until only the dry parts are left behind.
    I used a turkey baster to squirt the resulting sauce into 2 oz. containers I picked up at a party store, filling 12 containers with enough sauce left over for the cook, me, to have over some fruit before I tackle cleaning up.

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    Imprecise & Inexpensive

    Two themes predominate in my approach to cooking. 1. Daily cooking of flavorful food need not be a precise art. 2. You can be an adventurous cook on a budget. Cooking and eating should be fun for both cookers and eaters.