My friends can tell you about my fig fixation. I love anything fig. So it comes as no surprise that one of the happiest aspects on summer is the arrival of the fig harvest. Even in Seattle, the abundance of figs in our farmers market and local shops (Trader Joe's, Larry's Markets, Metropolitan Markets & Thriftway) is at times just too much to take.
I buy them every week and use them up in as many ways as I can. I put them in warm or cold salads, grill them as kabobs, roast them, add them to tagines, eat them fresh--piled high on a beautiful bowl at the table see how they disappear while grilling dinner outside or after dinner with a cheese plate for dessert--with Greek yogurt for breakfast or cook them and preserve them in jams.
In about a week, or two, most of the fig harvest will be depleted. I visited Pike Place Market on Monday to buy some produce , meats and flowers for dinner and noticed how most of the vendors are out of figs already. Only dear Rita had a basket full of plump little figgies for me. The last such basket and she was not sure if she would get any more!
So, if you, like me, happen to love fresh figs, hurry up and buy some this week because you too will be sad to bid farewell (till next summer) to these amazing little fruits.
And until next year, we'll be happy to make do with Trader Joe's Dried Black Mission Figs (plump and moistt and surprisingly delicious) and this amazing product. I found it at DeLaurenti by accident. You see, I was looking for a bottle of Fig Vincotto for a dish I'm planning to cook later this week. The Italian Vincotto the shop had in stock, unlike the homemade version, was too thin for my taste.
It was then that Matt directed me to this pretty bottle of Artibel Fig Molasses from Calabria (the toe of the boot of Italy). My plan is to create a mock Fig Vincotto in a snap, mixing my very own and very good 10+ yrs aged Balsamic Vinegar with the fig molasses, reducing it (stove top) and serving it in place of the homemade variety when I can no longer find fresh figs locally (which should be pretty soon).
It is delicious! Thick, dark and syrupy with a wonderful candied fig undertone. The bottle sells for $13.95 (6.8 fl oz, 200 ml) and the only ingredients in this are molasses of Calabrian figs and sugar. I can see this product working quite well as a drizzle over grilled fish--in the same manner one would use Pomegranate Molasses, another favorite of mine--or chicken or pork chops, waffles or pancakes, ice cream, fruit salad, in baking or to make Fig Royale (as a substitute for Figoun), salad dressings and marinades too.
The little card that came wrapped around the bottle offers the following suggestions (I've transcribed the copy word by word, I kid you not):
"Molasses of Figs: An ancient specialty of Calabrese tradition, but new and exclusive on the market, find its better utilize in confictionery, in particular like substitute of the bee honey, on the fruit-salad, with fresh pine-apple and maraschino, up the greated ice drink, like sauce up the beffsteak, and irons cocking fruit, for sweet of simple dough, on the cocktail, up and other use suggested of the immagination and of the taste."
Me thinks they need a better translator presto! :-D