It’s Fig Season!

The days are sweltering, sizzling hot. At night a breeze picks up bringing with it the fragrance of ripe fruit and sages. John and I have been spending the middling of an Israeli summer driving around the lake (Sea of Galilee) buying fresh fish as it comes off the boats and picking fruits. Lychees, mangoes, passion fruit and figs! Of course, this means creating delicious new recipes, canning, drying and freezing to have produce on hand in the winter months. So for all you foodies out there, here goes!!!

Let’s start with an easy to assemble and totally decadent salad. I add blue cheese, but you can leave the cheese out if you are sticking to a kosher meat menu.

ROASTED FIG SALAD (Serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • 8 fresh figs
  • 4 cups arugula or rocket lettuce
  • 2 cups butter lettuce or baby spinach
  • 1 small red onion, sliced thin and quartered
  • 1/4 cup walnut pieces
  • 1/4 cup candied/spiced pecans
  • 1 small wedge blue cheese (about 1/3 cup)
  • 2 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 TBSP balsamic vinegar

Set oven to 200*C/400*F. Quarter figs and place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with fresh cracked black pepper. Roast for 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Let cool. Reserve juices. In a large bowl, add the arugula and lettuce. Mix in the sliced red onion and cheese crumbles. Add the nuts. Place the figs on top. Drizzle with the reserved fig juices. Serve.


The next recipe was given to me by my oldest daughter. I love it that all my children have become first rate cooks. Katie raved about this one, so I had to try it. It calls for a mild white fish. We used St. Peter’s Fish, which is tilapia. I also bought a nice mild Levrak (it’s the Hebrew name so I have no clue what it’s called in English, but it was buttery, flaky and extremely mild with no fishy taste at all). There are two keys: fresh picked fig leaves and timing…. It gets baked for 6-8 minutes only.

FIG FISH

The ingredients are simple. A nice mild white fish, cleaned, de-scaled and sliced in half down the middle. A bunch of fresh fig leaves, olive oil, salt, pepper and some toothpicks.

Preheat oven to 200*C/400*F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Drizzle olive oil over the fish and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap in the fig leaves and secure with toothpicks (see photos), making sure the leaves also line the middle in between the two layers of fish. Bake in oven for just 6-8 minutes. Remove and unwrap the leaves. This is seriously amazing! If there are any leftovers, it makes dynamite fish tacos! (I bring 4 large packs of corn tortillas from this US each trip and freeze them).

The next two recipes are a collaboration between Katie and myself. She came up with the first, and I tweaked the second recipe to make it truly Israeli. The result is a satisfyingly rich and filling couple of breakfast shakes.

KATIE’S FIG FITNESS SHAKE (serves 1)

Ingredients:

  • 3 fresh figs
  • 3 pitted dates
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup coconut cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 TBSP honey
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • lots of ice

Mix all the ingredients in a blender or Vitamix. Pulse until smooth and creamy. Pour into a glass and enjoy. If there is any leftover, you can pour into popsicle molds and freeze for a cold summertime treat.

ISRAELI FIG AND DATE SHAKE

Ingredients:

  • 3 fresh figs
  • 2 dates, pitted
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 cup almond milk or fresh low-fat goat yogurt
  • 1 small individual serving packet of Turkish coffee with hel (if you live in Israel! if not, go to next 2 items) –
  • 1 TBSP powdered espresso if no Turkish coffee powder
  • 1 tsp powdered cardamom if no powdered hel or Turkish powder
  • 1/4 cup techineh (‘tahini’)- if you can find Ethiopian dark techineh, all the better
  • 1/4 cup silan (date syrup, at Trader Joe’s) or honey
  • lots of ice

Put all ingredients in a blender or Vitamix and pulse until smooth and creamy. Pour in a tall glass and top with crumbled halvah. Makes a great dairy dessert!

BAKED CHICKEN WITH FIGS AND ROSEMARY

I forgot to take a picture when it came out of the oven! This was after we ate and added in the leftover rice-

This was dinner tonight. The secret is to prep it in the morning. Let it marinate in the “sauce” all day, and then pop it in the oven. Of course, I served it with the fig salad (but this time I left the figs raw and didn’t add blue cheese) and a heavenly Middle Eastern spiced rice with lentils. Oh my word!! This was just super flavorful! It smelled so good, we just dug in before I could remember to snap a picture-

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole skin-on chicken, cut up
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 small red onion, cut up
  • 1/3 cup silan (date syrup… Trader Joe’s) or honey
  • 6 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp powdered cloves
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg

Rinse and pat dry the chicken pieces and place in a large freezer baggie. Cut up the red onion into bite-sized pieces and add to bag. Add the liquid ingredients, then the dry spices and the rosemary. Seal the bag tightly and squish the ingredients around to evenly distribute. At this point, you can freeze the bag of chicken for later use or let it marinate at least 6 hours in the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 170*C/350*F. Place the entire contents of the what is in the chicken baggie in a large baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake for an additional 10-12 minutes. Serves 4-6.

So glad I took a preliminary photo this morning!

FIG BALSAMIC GELATO

This was our weekend dessert. Can’t believe I gave away my ice cream maker before we moved. I bought another the first summer we were here. Nothing speaks lazy summer nights than fresh fig gelato on the terrace.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound/1/2 kg fresh ripe purple figs
  • 10 ounces/284 grams mascapone cheese in Israel I use Gad Dairy)
  • 2 cups 32% sweet cream (in Israel, there’s nothing comparable to Yotvata Dairy)
  • 1 14 ounce can sweet condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup honey (or coconut sugar)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • juice 1 small lemon
  • 3. TBSP brandy
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 200*C/400*F. Trim and halve figs & place on foil lined baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and purée until mushy using an immersion blender. In blender or food processor, add cream, canned milk, cheese, honey. Blend thoroughly. Transfer both the container of figs and cream mixture (I use Mason jars) to fridge and let chill overnight. When all is really cold, shake the jar and put the cream mixture into the ice cream maker. Add the salt. Let churn for about 15 minutes. Scrape down sides and add fig mixture, cinnamon and squeezed lemon juice. When rich and thick, drizzle in the brandy and balsamic. Finish churning and pour into glass or plastic containers. Put a layer of plastic wrap directly on top of the gelato. Let it freeze for a couple hours to become firm. This makes about 24 small scoops. Adorn with a quarter slice of fresh raw fig and a ginger wafer to serve.

6 thoughts on “It’s Fig Season!

    • Thanks for reading, Kevin. The shakes were great. Fun to be creative in trying to “figure out” what to do with all the seasonal produce that comes in by the bushel. Pomegranate season will be here soon-

      Liked by 1 person

      • Glad you enjoyed it, Kevin… and thanks for reading. The kitchen lab continues. What to do with lychees. They are these knobby red balls that look incredibly strange! Never had one until we visited a lady who has lychee and mango orchards. You peel off the rubbery skin and are left with a really really sweet white snot ball with seeds inside. I know, gross, right? So what to do with them besides pop ‘‘em in your mouth or make a fruit salad? We tried lychee liquor. We stuffed the peeled snot balls (truly, that’s what they remind me of!) into a Mason jar and covered with a very very strong, clear alcohol. Let it sit for 2 weeks, strained into bottles. It’s tropical and sweet and quite delicious.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your readership, Mary. Last Thursday I even made a lovely pizza with a garlic olive oil base & ricotta. Topped it with the figs and after it came out of the oven, arugula and balsamic. Must say, at this point, I’ve figged myself out, and will hold off until next season. Go figure….

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s