Eat & Tell with Annette Tomei
(This recipe for Dried Figs in Port Wine Syrup is excerpted from Annette Tomei’s column Eating Like a Diva.)
Why Figs in Port Wine Syrup is Diva Food
Since it is the middle of winter and perfect heirloom tomatoes are only happy memories or dreams of the summer to come, I’ll offer a Diva-worthy winter recipe for Dried Figs in Port Wine Syrupthat you will be happy to put in your mouth…or someone else’s, if you’re lucky!
Why dried figs? Well in winter, Diva foods like ripe, slutty tomatoes and figs are in short order but a dried fig on its own? Well, that’s just sad unless it’s chopped finely and baked into a biscotti or something equally satisfying. But plump them in the right poaching liquid and dried figs become a food of great sensuality. Try it. You’ll know exactly what I’m talking about!
This simple recipe turns dried figs into something truly sensual. Use them as a garnish or snack.
- 8 high quality dried California figs
- 1 cup Port (good enough to drink but not the really good stuff - save that for drinking!)
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp orange zest and 2fresh-squeezed juice
- 1/2 vanilla bean split
- Pinch of fine sea salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
In a heavy bottom, non-reactive 1-quart saucepan combine the figs, port, and honey.
Zest the orange over the mixture and squeeze half of the orange into the pot while enjoying the exhilarating essence of the orange and the feel of the juice dripping through your fingers (mind the pits!).
Split half of a vanilla pod, lengthwise. Inhale.
Gently scrape the tiny black beans into the pot; place the pod in also.
Heat the mixture to a simmer over medium heat.
Gently simmer until the figs are plump and the liquid is a light syrup consistency. Season with salt and pepper.
Cool to room temperature.
These figs are very versatile. My favorite way to serve them is with an assortment of great cheeses (Roaring 40's - an incredible, Australian blue cheese, Parmigiano reggiano, Epoisses de Bourgogne) and a good baguette.
You can also serve them alone, over ice cream, or as a base for sauce for pork or chicken.
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