I never liked figs as a child, but just like avocados, one day I woke up and decided they were delicious. Figs have such a densely sweet, honeyed, and almost nutty flavor that I’m not surprised they didn’t appeal to the same person who thought 3-foot-long Pixi Stix were a tasty challenge.
Now, of course, I get my crop of figs from Mom, who – surprise! – grows them at her house. I can’t tell which they are from this chart, but they have green flesh and a deep salmon-pink center. The flavor is rich and sweet, and pairs perfectly with rosemary and honey. If you’re lucky enough to get figs in your CSA box or at the farmer’s market, here are a couple of suggestions for your next cocktail hour.
FIG COCKTAIL (AKA “THE BENEVOLENT DICTATOR” BECAUSE IT’S SWEET BUT PACKS A WALLOP)
Adapted from The Best Remedy – this cocktail is sweet, rich, herbal, and perfectly balanced. I changed the original proportions, and made the rosemary simple syrup into a honey-rosemary syrup.
- 1/4 c honey
- 1/4 c water
- 3 sprigs rosemary, plus additional for garnish
- 2 medium figs, halved
- 2 oz vodka
- 1/2 oz lemon juice
- Combine honey, water, and rosemary sprigs in small sauce pan. Bring to a boil, stirring to combine.
- When the mixture is boiling, reduce to a simmer. Let simmer for 5 minutes and allow to cool to room temperature. (This amount of rosemary-honey syrup will make 3-4 cocktails, so adjust according to your needs.)
- Remove rosemary sprigs (you may want to set these aside for something else)
- In a pint glass, muddle 2 halved figs with the lemon juice and 3/4 oz honey. Do not pulverize.
- Add ice and vodka and stir with a bar spoon (this can also be done in a shaker).
- Test the cocktail – you may want to add a bit more honey.
- Using a fine mesh strainer, strain the cocktail into a coupe or martini glass. (Some seeds will make their way into the glass – it’s unavoidable!) Garnish with a small sprig of rosemary.
FIGS WITH GOAT CHEESE, HONEY, AND ROSEMARY
(You can also add crumbled bacon on top, because there really isn’t any reason not to. Unless you’re vegetarian.)
- Goat cheese or ricotta
- Fresh rosemary (1-2 sprigs)
There are no ingredient ratios because you simply cannot mess this up. They makes a perfect appetizer because they are easy to eat with one hand, and relatively mess-free. Purchase as many figs as you want to serve – for 20 figs, I believe approximately two ounces of goat cheese or ricotta would be sufficient, depending on how large the figs are and how full you “pack” them.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare an oven-proof dish with non-stick spray.
- Wash and dry the figs and cut an “X” 3/4 of the way into each fig (see photo). The fig should be open like a flower.
- Spoon a small amount of goat cheese into the middle of each fig, place into baking pan, and bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove from oven.
- Drizzle each fig with a bit of honey.
- Sprinkle each fig with salt and pepper (omit salt if using bacon).
- Place rosemary leaves (or crumbled bacon) atop the cheese.
- Serve warm.
Hope you give them a try!
As an aside, the glassware pictured in both photos was a gift from my older cousins; my great-aunt and great-uncle recently passed away in their 90s. (If you’ve ever read my About page, this is the great-uncle/baker who worked in the family Geary Street bakery and taught at City College.) It is nice to be able to honor them by using their glassware — not to mention that the linens pictured were made by my grandmother and great-grandmother. There’s a lot of San Francisco family history on this blog!