20 August 2010

Honey Lavender Roasted Figs


Figs are at the market again. This week I saw not only fresh Mission figs but Turkey and Kadota figs as well. They make a pretty display. I love their hues of limey green to soft brown or eggplant purple. I like their homey teardrop shape, the way they sometimes ooze with sticky beads of rich juice when they are ripe. They are a curious blend of innocent sweetness and jaded softness.

I like most summer fruit best when it is served with a sprinkling of sugar to draw out the juice and deepen the flavor and a dollop of whipped cream. Figs, however, are a different story. Quiet, unassuming and self-contained, they carry a full rich sweetness of their own but also blend beautifully with a variety of flavors. Their flesh has the delicate grainy crunch of a sugar cube drenched in nectar and it sweetens the tart flavor of the skin to perfection when ripe.


I am drawn to figs and enjoy them plain but if I choose wisely and am able to savor a single luscious perfectly ripe fig I am satisfied. Then I am left wondering what to do with the rest of the box.

The problem is a welcome one. The trick is to let go of my preconceptions about summer fruit. Figs are comfortable whether paired with savory ingredients or sweet. They make a delicious tart but also add an exotic counterpoint to the sharp flavors of cheese, onion and red pepper. One of my favorite treats the past few summers has been a flatbread from Truly Scrumptious topped with just those ingredients, and punctuated with figs. The combination is unexpected, pretty and delicious.

This summer I searched out a few other ideas as well. I paired the remains of my last box of figs with some amazing Blackberry Honey from Nature's Wild Harvest at the Camas Farmer's Market in a variation on a couple of simple recipes I found at Apartment Therapy and Yum Sugar. Keeping in mind a hint I recently read at More Than Burnt Toast about substituting lavender for rosemary in almost any dish, I came up with a wonderfully delicious way to enjoy this summer’s bounty of figs.


Honey Lavender Roasted Figs

8 ripe figs
1 Tablespoon honey
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Several sprigs of culinary lavender (I used Hidcote lavender)
salt and freshly ground pepper

Gaot Cheese
Crackers

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Remove stem end of figs and cut them in half.

Place fig halves, skin side down, on a baking dish. sprinkle with balsamic vinegar and drizzle with honey. Nestle lavender sprigs among the fig halves and/or scatter over top.


Sprinkle all with a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Roast figs at 400 degrees for 10 - 15 minutes.

Arrange fig halves on serving tray. Drizzle with any juice from the pan and sprinkle with the cooked lavender bits.

Serve wiith goat cheese and crackers. First smear the cracker with cheese then place a fig half on top.

Enjoy!!

9 comments:

Ivy said...

Lisa,
I know we only know eachother through blogging but, you are one of my favorite people. :)

P.S. The figs look delicious-what a yummy combo. Pics are gorgeous!

Kate said...

Your figs look lovely! I like the idea of lavender and honey!

grace said...

fresh figs are SO pretty, yet i had no idea you could make them even more gorgeous and appetizing simply by roasting them. this is lovely!

Nicisme said...

Oh wow, that's an amazing combo! I can almost smell the lavender and figs.

Pam said...

I finally planted a little fig treet his summer. I have high hopes and dreams for it!

Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather said...

I have yet to see figs at the downtown Vancouver farmer's market but will keep my eye out. I rarely eat them but when I do it's love.

Gypmar said...

Oh, rats. I was already kicking myself for forgetting to go to the farmer's market this week and now I have to kick even harder.

These look fantastic.

Lisa said...

Ivy - You are so sweet. :) These figs would be perfect for you!

Kate - "Lavender and Honey" just sounds great together doesn't it?

Grace - It's funny how roasting makes so many things taste better, sometimes in unexpected ways.

Nicisme - Thanks! They are wonderful. I hope you'll try them.

Pam - Sounds like a great ideal! I hope you have better luck with you figs than I do with my blueberry bushes.

Heather and Gypmar - I hardly ever see figs for sale around here except at the Camas Produce Market. At the Camas Farmer's Market, Truly Scrumptious sometimes sells their flatbread with figs on it but I haven't seen fresh figs for sale. My strategy was to buy that fabulous honey at the market and then pick up the figs at Camas Produce on the way home.

Lisa said...

Heather and Gypmar - Update! Proving myself wrong, I just saw a big assortment of figs for sale at Whole Foods in the 'Couv. There were Black Mission figs, Brown Turkey figs, and Calimyrna figs (green). I suppose it is officially the season. Enjoy!