Saturday, August 28, 2010

A Figgy Weekend

So, it's the end of August -- one of my favorite times of year, not just because the sun at 5pm in RI is golden and lovely. Nope, not cause it's almost fall, when it's someone's birthday and the leaves change color and fall. And no, not because the days are getting shorter.

Instead, one (of many) reasons why I love this time of year is because the produce in the greenmarkets is amazing. The colors. The fragrance (yes, just walking past the Union Square Greenmarket, I can identify what is fresh from the ground with my eyes closed. It's intoxicating, especially when it is tomatoes and basil). And those magical figs.

This past week, I had the luck of hitting the figs just right. I brought home 20 figs, about 10 Kadota (large and green -- looks like Calimyrna, but is an American version of an Italian favorite) and 10 Black Mission (deep purple color and a rich flavor, planted by Spanish missionaries) fresh figs. Figs are known for their fiber, but also are a good source of calcium, potassium, and iron (a good treat after the killer workouts I've recently subjected myself to).

Fig 101: 8-10 o'clock are Kadota figs;
3-5 o'clock are black mission figs

Black Mission figs

Kadota figs

I usually buy dried figs in the market, as here on the East Coast, fresh figs are a rarity (I used to have a coworker who had a fig tree and would bring her bumper crop in to share with us. Heaven!). So, when I see fresh figs in the market, I buy a box or two and have lots of fun. I love figs with arugula, a maple-shallot dressing, proscuitto and shaved gruyere salads. Or a triple cream cheese, goat or cow with wheatmeal crackers and sliced figs. A favorite restaurant in CT serves figs with chorizo, piping hot, in ceramic cazuelas. It is SO good, that, with a couple of slices of their steaming hot bread and olive oil, I can call it a meal. I blame that dish for my recently purchasing their cookbook. Oh, Barcelona I love you.

Back to my twenty tender morsels. What, you ask, did I do with twenty whole figs and just my mouth to feed? Created some colorful, healthy, and yummy figgy dishes. I guess I can share my secrets with you!

Thursday's dinner - and my favorite: Arugula with maple-shallot dressing, aged goat cheese, proscuitto, sliced figs, and a couple of wheatmeal crackers for good measure.

Friday's breakfast: cinnamon oatmeal, topped with chopped fresh and dried figs, with some flaked coconut and a drizzle of maple syrup.

Friday's snack: Molasses/walnut/dried fig granola with a fresh fig (more details on this here)

Friday's dinner: More arugula with maple-shallot dressing, sliced figs, and shaved carrot, with some sauteed spicy Italian sausage.

Saturday's brunch: Chopped fresh figs with greek yogurt, more molasses-fig granola, and a bit of honeycomb on top.

And for le piece de resistance? Saturday's planned dinner (you will have to check back for the full report): attempting to make a fig-red wine vinaigrette to serve with spinach and wild arugula. Serving this with a riff on a recipe from one of my favorite Italian restaurant's in NYC, Sfoglia: homemade pappardelle with brown butter, figs, gruyere, and basil, and possibly some italian sausage tossed in there for protein!

We shall see how this turns out -- so stay tuned for another post later this week.

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