Entertaining guests in autumn is a joy. The weather is more agreeable. Foods, spices and fruits of fall are warm and welcoming to the palette and nose, too. One naturally sweet flower (that’s no typo, indeed a flower) that compliments cocktails, cheeses and appetizers is the fig.
Figs pack an awesome nutritional punch with oodles of potassium, calcium, iron and fiber. While fig varieties (Kadota, Black Mission, Brown Turkey, California, Turkish) have nuanced flavors and textures, each compliments drinks and dishes all the same.
When planning a fall get-together, it’s smart (and enjoyable) to create a unique drink menu. It’s great to include staple drinks, such as a Horsefeather and classic martini, but adding seasonal drinks that feature figs will bring diversity to your drink options.
Fig puree (directions):
12 ripe, organic figs, halved
1/4 cups organic balsamic vinegar
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place figs in 9″x9″ metal baking pan. Pour balsamic vinegar over figs. Bake 12 minutes. Stir twice to prevent burning, remove figs. Cool 10 minutes. Pour figs and liquid into blender. Purée until blended. Store in refrigerator in airtight container for up to one week.
Organic fig puree (1 heaping teaspoon)
Organic figs, ripe (12)
Orange bitters (1 dash)
Organic Maple Syrup (1/4 ounce)
Lemon juice, fresh squeezed from organic lemons (1/4 ounce)
Whiskey (if possible, use a local batch) (1 1/2 ounce)
Fill cocktail shaker with ice. Add fig purée, whiskey, lemon juice, maple syrup and orange bitters. Shake for 15 seconds. Strain into cocktail glass.
The Fig Thyme (via Cocktails at Six)
Organic fig (1, quartered)
Thyme simple syrup (1 cup organic sugar, 1 1/2 cups water, 5-6 organic thyme sprigs — 1/2 oz.)
Organic lime juice (1/2 oz.)
Pisco (1 1/2 oz.)
Cointreau (1/4 oz.)
Simple syrup directions:
Add thyme to sugar and water. Simmer in saucepan for 15-20 minutes. Cool, strain through sieve. Transfer to bottle. Refrigerate for up to two weeks.
Mix figs and syrup. Top with ice, lime juice, pisco and Cointreau. Shake until cold. Garnish with fig (optional).
Cocktail concocting is complete! Now, you’re ready to slice and dice those extra figs. Fresh and dried organic figs pair well with cheese, pork and prosciutto. Figs also compliment dishes with organic rosemary, thyme, nutmeg and honey, too.
Figs, ricotta cheese, honey and poppy seeds (via Earthbound Farm Organic)
Organic balsamic vinegar (2 cups)
Local, organic ricotta cheese (1 1/2 cups)
Local honey (1/4 cups)
Grated, organic nutmeg
Organic figs (8, preferably Brown Turkey figs)
Place balsamic vinegar in non-reactive pan over medium heat. Once vinegar begins to simmer, reduce heat to low and cook until vinegar turns syrupy (30-45 minutes). Makes 1/4 to 1/3 cup of glaze. Don’t allow vinegar to boil or it will taste scorched. Cool for 10 minutes. Transfer glaze to squeeze bottle with a narrow tip. Glaze can be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator indefinitely. To soften, immerse the bottle in a bowl of hot water.
Plate preparation (serves four):
Divide ricotta among four plates, making a neat mound on each. Drizzle cheese with honey and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Grate nutmeg over to lightly dust. Arrange figs around cheese and squeeze a few dollops of balsamic glaze around the plate. Serve!
If you still have a plethora of figs, try our OA recipe for Stuffed Figs with Burrata, Arugula, Wrapped in Prosciutto. Another simple, light meal that’s guaranteed to please.