Figs Roasted with Orange Peel, Thyme, Maple Syrup and White Balsamic Vinegar

figsroastedI thought I would only do one fig post this summer…“First Figs….A Savory Tart” which I posted a few weeks ago. That was until I got a phone call from a neighbor, Berdelle Campbell, asking if I wanted to come and pick figs from her trees. The next morning I was at her house reaching deep into her Brown Turkey Fig trees, climbing atop a ladder to get the really ripe ones, popping many into my mouth for breakfast. An hour and 8 lbs of figs later we exhaustedly made ourselves stop…saving some for the birds.

Basket of fresh picked figs

Post fig-picking Berdelle made us warm toasted bread smeared with cream cheese. We crushed very ripe figs into the cheese and ate these little bites standing in the garden along with her friend, Betty. Have you ever eaten figs this way?

Figs Crushed onto Cream Cheese & Toasted bread

Thus began my “fig odyssey”. I ate fresh figs on salads, I canned figs turning them into sauces & jams.  I made a thick chutney-like roasted fig recipe that is best eaten on aged Cheddar or Gouda, that was inspired by my friend Nancy over at “Good Food Matters”, which is the recipe I am sharing today.

A recipe for “Figs Roasted with Orange Peel, Thyme, Maple Syrup & White Balsamic Vinegar”

Simply do this…..

1. Use 1 lb fresh ripe figs, rinsed & drained  & cut in half lengthwise.

fresh figs washed & drained

2. Spread cut figs out flat on a baking sheet. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

figs cut in half

3. Drizzle fig halves with 1 cup Maple Syrup.

Maple Syrup

4. Add the peel from one orange and sprinkle over figs.

orange peel

5. Toss 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh thyme over all.

fresh thyme

6. Splash 1/2 cup White Balsamic Vinegar across figs. Place pan in oven and roast for about 30 minutes or until figs are just starting to caramelize. Remove pan from oven.

roasted figs

7. Store roasted figs in glass jars with tight-fitting lids in refrigerator until ready to eat. They will keep for up to 3 weeks chilled. If not using immediately then freeze for up to 6 month.

Print this recipe here

jarred roasted figs

Serve smeared on toasted bread, with any of your favorite cheeses….especially good with an aged cheddar, or as you would a chutney, along side roasted meats or chicken.

spoon of roasted figs

yummy bite

Do you like your figs dried or fresh?  What are some ways you use figs in recipes?  Have you ever eaten fresh figs warmed by the morning sun just picked from a tree?

“Fergola Sarda Pasta, Lady Peas and Pesto Salad”

fergola sarda pasta salad

Labor Day is almost here. The day that heralds the end of summer and the beginning of fall…..somewhere. Labor Day here in Nashville heralds our hottest days and nights, hours of watering gardens & lawns or just giving up and letting it all go to seed. Plump ripe tomatoes, the last of the Lady Peas at the Farmer’s Market and at my house absolutely no desire to fire up the oven. Supper has to be short & a bit sassy, using whatever I can lay my hands on…healthy & colorful is always good…a little crunch…a glass of cool white wine. That is truly about all I can deal with.

Enter, stage left….Fergola Sarda. Have you heard of it? I had not until recently when perusing the shelves of Lazzaroli’s Pasta down the street from my house here on Fifth Avenue North. My eyes alighted on a bag of pasta that contained tiny round, lightly toasted looking balls…like giant Israeli Couscous, but not.

Fergola Sarda Pasta

Fergola Sarda is pasta from the region of Sardinia, Italy. A staple in the Sardinian kitchen this little pasta is actually toasted in an oven which gives it a very rustic appearance & homey flavor. Don’t you love a new food find?

Using other ingredients on hand here is my recipe for “Fergola Sarda Pasta, Lady Peas, and Pesto Salad”.

Ingredients I used:

1 cup Fergola Sarda Pasta cooked al dente according to the package directions; 1 cup Lady Peas (a variety of field peas which include among others Crowder peas, Butter beans, use any of these for this recipe) cooked; sliced Cucumbers & Avocados; quartered homegrown tomatoes; red onion slivers; the juice of 1 lemon, sea salt & freshly ground black pepper; freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, 1 cup of your favorite homemade or store-bought pesto (1/2 cup for mixing in salad & 1/2 cup for serving) & a splash each of olive oil & white balsamic vinegar

Print Full Recipe Here

Fergola Sarda Pasta Ingredients

When the Fergola Sarda Pasta is cooked al dente & drained, pile it in a serving dish. I used a deep platter. The golden color is so appealing isn’t it? I am just a bit smitten.

uncooked fergola sarda pasta


Ingredients for Fergola Sarda Pasta Salad

I really like the addition of raw onions to a dish such as this salad, but often not the overbearing strong flavor which can take over the others. Here is my tip for “sweetening the onion”. Put your sliced, diced, chopped onions in a bowl. Toss with freshly squeezed lemon juice. Let sit for about 1/2 hour. Drain and add to your recipe. Taste one. You will be amazed at the way the lemon juice totally takes away the harshness of some onions.

red onions & lemon juice

Cooking Lady Peas for this salad is very easy. I rinse fresh peas & drain in a colander. I then cook them in a saucepan barely covered with water, adding some salt & pepper, a dash of garlic powder & a couple of pats of butter. Bring to a boil, turn to simmer for about 20 minutes or until peas have absorbed some of the liquid. Peas are ready for this salad when you press one between your fingers and it “gives”.  Drain cooked peas in a colander allowing to cool a few minutes.

Lady Peas

Add all remaining ingredients to pasta and toss gently.

Fergola Sarda Pasta & Lady Pea SaladpestoDSC_1008

Serve immediately or chill for later. Dollop additional pesto on side of plates when serving as well as a generous grating of Parmesan. “Fergola Sarda Pasta, Lady Peas & Pesto Salad” perfect as is for an entrée, would be a tasty companion to alongside grilled chicken for a dinner party.

Fergola Sarda, Lady Peas & Pesto Salad

Don’t work too hard this Labor Day, summer is fleeting, enjoy it. Stay Cool.

“Gratin de Pommes for Julia on a Summer’s Evening”

“Gratin de Pommes de Terre Provencal”
(“Scalloped Potatoes with Onions, Tomatoes, Anchovies, Herbs & Garlic”, page 525-526  “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”, Volume One, Fortieth Anniversary Edition, by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, Simone Beck, New York, Alfred A. Knopf 2008)
 I realized last week when Julia Child would have been 100 years old that I have never actually cooked any of her recipes.  I do own quite a few of her cookbooks.  I have always used her books as reference books, not as cooking books.
So in honor of Julia’s 100 birthday I pulled out my copy of “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” and followed her recipe for “Gratin de Pommes de Terre Provencal”.
The results? A light scalloped potato dish, speckled with fresh seeded tomatoes sautéed with onions, an anchovy-garlic paste & fresh thyme, dusted on the top with freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano and baked until golden brown and bubbly. No cream or butter to  cover up the taste of the vegetables, just a wonderful freshness that emphasized the creaminess of the potatoes & spiciness of the other ingredients, all complimenting each other perfectly.
The original recipe is not at all complicated or fussy. I have taken the liberty to give the recipe in my own words to make it “blog friendly”.
2 cups thinly sliced onions
4 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 1/2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded & juiced (This is the only change I made, I did not peel the Heirloom Tomatoes I used)
1/4 tsp salt
6 canned anchovies, packed in olive oil & drained
2 cloves mashed garlic
1/4 tsp basil, 1/4 tsp thyme (both fresh & chopped)
1/8 tsp black pepper
2 lbs boiled potatoes, sliced thinly
1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Swiss Cheese
 1 tsp olive oil
1. Cook onions in 2 tbsp olive oil slowly together until tender but not browned. Cut seeded tomatoes into strips & gently stir into the onions. Set aside
2. In a small bowl, mash the anchovies, garlic, herbs, pepper & 2 tbsp olive oil into a paste-like mixture.
3.  Spread 1/4 of tomato-onion mixture in the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish. Layer on top,  1/2 of the sliced potatoes, half the anchovy mixture and 1/2 of the remaining tomato-onion mixture. Layer on remaining potato slices & anchovy mixture, topping with remaining tomato-onion mixture. Sprinkle cheese & 1 tsp olive oil over the top.
4. Bake in middle of an oven preheated to 400 degrees for about 35-40 minutes. If top begins to brown too much, cover loosely with foil. Serve.
A heartfelt & belated “Bon Anniversaire” Julia.