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dried FIGS bathing in PORTO



Plumped up some sun-dried figs into...
a perfectly spirited culinary concoction.

For all intent and purpose...
logically I should have been posting first about luscious fresh figs
instead of highlighting the fig in its ultimately drier sweeter state.

Especially since, just this week has delivered me a real treat...
the sweetest 'mission' figs from California.
Quite an unexpected surprise.
They were actually very close to their peek of perfection.


All kinds of recipes raced through my mind.
However, the easiest and less complicated use of this fresh fig...
was to quite frankly put one by one quietly through the
route of my mouth towards the happy ending of my tummy ;0) 
How's that for a great destination?

Alright, teasing aside...this wonderful poaching of my favourite dried fruit
along with a flavourful fortified wine had to finally be shared with all of you.

Pour a little of the Porto Syrup and jazz it up with a few thin slices
of figs and maybe a few sprinkles of chopped roasted almonds.


It all began from a little experimentation that stemmed from another recipe
which included apricots and I don't even remember what spirit was used.
In any case...I had just bought a big bottle of Ruby Port to cook with and it had
dawned on me that I couldn't go wrong in cooking the dry figs into my favourite liquor.
I also had felt that adding to it the aroma of my favourite
cinnamon spice would not hinder the overall result either ;o)

After a few tweaks here and there...
I finally came up with the perfect ratio of dried fruit to liquid.
The most amazing part of this recipe is how well it lends itself
to both sweet and savoury dishes...as in this:
Oh...and did I forget to mention...
that the figs keep in the refrigerator in what seems like forever...
if, of course you don't finish them too soon ;o)
***
A little info on the wondrous dried FIG...
in its naturally organic sweetness.



Several Health Benefits:
. Excellent source of calcium, potassium and iron. 
. Figs help in balancing the pH of the body since they are high in alkalinity.
. Very protein rich and a great low in fat treat...albeit caloric due to the natural sugars.
. Fiber generous to aid in our digestive system and is also a reducer of cholesterol levels.
***
. If you are fortunate enough to get an abundance of fresh figs
and want to home-dry them ... here are great instructions.
***
. Store your dried figs by wrapping them well with
a plastic wrap while taking as much air out.
They can keep in a cool dark area for at least
one month or refrigerated for several months.
***


There is a plethora of choices when it comes to choosing a Port fortified wine.
I will certainly not even try to touch upon this vast subject in this post...perhaps, maybe at a later time.
Therefore, without going into a lengthy description...here's a little something you need to know about the versatile and relatively inexpensive Ruby Port wine variety:  It is the most extensively produced fortified wine of its kind. It has a slightly sweet taste and has been created to be sold within the first 2-3 years of life...it will not improve with age as most Ports do.




Porto Figs
yields 22-24 figs

INGREDIENTS:
(American / Metric measures)

. 22-24 dried figs sulphite-free
(usually a 454g. box)
. 3 cups (750ml) Port wine **
. 1 big stick of cinnamon spice

* Turkish dried Figs (usually from the Province of Aydin...where they are most popular) are my first choice because they are plump and succulent. Their sweetness are preserved naturally, hence, none of those unwanted preservatives.
. A very close second choice would be the California (Calimyrna) fig or the Mission fig which happens to be of a smaller and sweeter variety.
Note: Whenever possible and if your pocket book permits...an organic selection of dried figs are always best for any recipe.

** Port wine selection: I usually use an inexpensive brand named 'Brights 74' for not only its attention to quality...moreso for its distinctive, fruity, anis-like aroma. It's very possible that you may not find this particular brand.  Just keep in mind that your liquor store is very well informed on which inexpensive brand can very well suit this recipe.


PREPARATION:
approx. 20 minutes


. Prepare the dried figs by slightly pulling the tips and then cutting them off and discarding them.
. In a medium (8 inch/ 20cm) saucepan...pour the Port wine and place the cinnamon stick in the liquid.  Cover the pot and bring to a boil.  Once boiling...uncover pot and let it boil for another 2 minutes.  Then take out the cinnamon stick or else the fragrance will end up overpowering the Port wine.
. Bring the heat down to medium and add the figs side by side, as best you can.  Cover the pot for 2 minutes and then lower to a simmer heat for another 8 minutes.  Shut off heat...leave the cover on (don't open the lid) and let stand there until it reaches room temperature.  This will take several hours...just leave it alone.


. Once the figs are cool...place them into a big mason glass jar with the aid of a jar funnel.  Make sure the liquid fully covers the patted down figs and seal.  If missing some liquid...you can add a minimal amount of uncooked Port wine.  Before refrigerating, turn over the jar for about 1 hour and then it can be turned over right side up again.
Note: Although not a necesssary step...I do, once and a while turn the jar upside down to let the Port syrup spread throughout the figs.

The advantage of this recipe is that the figs
can either be immediately consumed or
kept in the refrigerator for months as it continues to soak up
the liquid and creates the most luscious Fig Port syrup.
***
Have you ever made this type of recipe...
with another dried fruit perhaps?

Would you see yourself making use of such a recipe...
and where would you integrate it most?
***



Figs bathing in Port
...can be accompanied by a variety of side delicacies.

thecupboardmouse.wordpress.com

The most obvious choice would be to selectively choose a few great robust bodied cheeses...such as:
BLUE cheeses...
Strong CHEDDARS...
'PARMIGIANO REGGIANO'...
PROVOLONE etc.

The Softer, yet pronounced cheeses also lend themselves exceptionally well...such as:
BRIES...CAMEMBERTS...GOAT milk cheeses... GORGONZOLAS...

If, unfortunately your specialty cheese shop
hasn't served you well enough...
...here are some great specialized cheese sites you can refer to:

***

Add in some...
NUTS ... NUTS ... NUTS
in all their natural goodness.









I really enjoyed realizing this post.
I do hope you have a chance to make this fabulous culinary concoction.


Flavourful wishes,
Foodessa


Comments ... ??? ... or suggestions ... write me :o)
Claudia at: foodessa [at] gmail [dot] com