Summer doesn’t feel like it’s ending for us yet because there’s still an amazing amount of wonderful summer produce that’s reaching out to us every time we go to the farmers market. The summer fruit pangs hit us hard this year when it came to figs. The plethora of phenomenal figs has us buying more figs than we can eat, and they’re not cheap! Sometimes at $4-$6 for a basket of about 5-7 figs, it can get really pricey for fig lovers like us. Every where we turn around, there’s a different fig that we haven’t tried. So that means shelling out some major bucks for more, more and more figs. Now if only the farmers market accepted credit cards, then we’d be in serious fig and debt gluttony.
Our fig weakness got the best of us a few weeks back when Jen & Jeremy came to town and headed to our place for dinner. We thought about having a small plate of fresh, sweet figs for dessert would be a nice finish to outdoor dinner. So, we expected to only buy only a basket of brown turkey figs. OK, at $5 a basket, all we need is one. Then we turned to the next farmer a few stalls away and found some calimarni figs. Wow, those were deliciously sweet and maple syrupy-ish flavored. Awesome! We’ll take two basket of those please! Next down the row was a vendor with some of the most beautiful black mission figs we ever saw. Ugh! Darn those farmers with their free sample tables! So we took a taste test and again, wow! They were sweet as ever. Another basket to add the collection. Finally we found a table that had another AMAZING fig that was super duper sweet. But the farmer forgot the name on this variety. So we called it our “no name” fig at $6 bucks a pop. Finally, the last basket to add to our fig gluttony. We’re fig whipped, for sure.
Obviously we couldn’t eat them all so with all the left over figs, we decided to make batch of fig balsamic, something we had in a restaurant once before and the memory of it still amazes us today. The fig balsamic was served on a Humboldt fog goat cheese plate and was meant to be drizzled on the cheese. Amazing! Another dish that we had was a heirloom tomato salad with a fig balsamic vinaigrette. In both these dishes, the fig balsamic was a delicious sweet, tart, tangy compliment to the cheese and the salad. We fell in love with fig balsamic and since then and have always wanted to make it ourselves. Now with a HUGE collection of figs that we didn’t get to finish eating, it was time to make our much anticipated fig balsamic before the figs went bad.
Warning!! When using fresh figs, this amazing fig balsamic is not cheap to make! Unless you have a fig tree that is yielding you with fig heaven, you’ll be shelling out half your paycheck for a batch for this stuff. With about $30 in fresh figs, we ended up with about less than 3/4 cup of fig balsamic. But all the gooey, sweet and tangy/tart concoction is worth every penny because it is so intensely flavored that just a little bit of the fig balsamic goes a long way. You can drizzle it on creamy cheeses (Humboldt Fog goat, Brie’s, Epoisses, St. Agur blue, etc.), on berries, or ice cream, use it as a glaze/marinade to add depth to meats (duck, lamb, pork) or mix it with a little olive oil for a fantastic vinaigrette to enhance your favorite salads. When stewed together, the sweet essence of the figs combines wonderfully with the tangy/tartness of the balsamic vinegar. The result is a dark, concentrated, sticky, gooey nectar of fig balsamic heaven. This reduction of fig and balsamic vinegar is something you have to try!
We’re submitting this fig balsamic to Jen at Modern Beet, Fresh from the Farmers Market Carnival event. Jen’s fabulous event celebrates Farmer Markets all across the country. We gathered these fresh figs from The Santa Monica’s farmers market in Santa Monica, CA. Using fig preserves and dried figs is another option that we’ll have tot try. The costs won’t break the bank and maybe the results will be the same. We’ll let everyone know what are results are when we try that option! Has anyone tried making your own fig balsamic with dried figs or preserves? What were your results?
Fig Balsamic Recipe
Yield: 1/2 cup
Total Time: 1 hour
- About 1/2 cup ripe fig pulp (about 10 oz figs) Sweet Mission figs or Brown Turkey figs
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
- Scoop out fig pulp.
- In saucepan, add fig pulp, balsamic vinegar and vanilla. Simmer on low heat for about 20-25 minutes, or until it becomes thick. Stir occasionally (every 5-8 minutes).
- Allow fig/balsamic reduction to cool. We like having the seeds in our balsamic as well as having it smooth. If you want it smooth, place mixture in blender or food processor. Blend thoroughly until mixture combines and becomes smooth. This step will also help release the seeds from any pulp that has not cooked down. In separate bowl, strain out fig seeds. Depending on your strainer, you might need to strain it at least two times to remove most of seeds.
- The reduction is very concentrated. Use about 1 teaspoon at a time (or to taste) to your favorite marinades, sauces, dressing and drizzles.
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add balsamic vinegar, reduce
blend in food processor
strain to remove excess seeds
That’s it. Enjoy!