Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Dried figs poached in white wine and orange juice reduction.

My plan today was this: blog a little, garden a little, laundry a little, read a little, homework a little. Somehow my plans never pan out. I have the entire day to accomplish so many things, and yet I cannot seem to get myself out of blogging mode today. In some ways this is refreshing, as I've been feeling a little short on ideas lately in the kitchen. Still, my list is not getting any shorter.

In the midst of my procrastination/path to inspiration, I was browsing around a website for illegal/legal foods for people suffering from Crohn's disease. (This is not something I am dealing with, but I have several family members who are). As I went down the list, the illegal foods seemed endless. Occasionally I would see something legal that I did not have in my kitchen, so I would quickly move on to the next item. I decided to try a new tactic: what do I already have in my kitchen and are those ingredients legal? Dried figs (legal), an orange (legal), white wine (legal), honey (legal), fresh thyme, basil and parsley (all legal)... What on earth could I do with those! They were all legal on the list, but what the... Wait. I got it! Light bulb moment!

I had read a recipe the other day for cherries poached in red wine. Why not try poaching dried figs in white wine? I wasn't sure if this even made sense, but I figured it couldn't hurt to give it a try.

The only way I remembered eating figs (aside from on their own) was in fig newtons when I was little. I was never sure if I really liked them or not. Fortunately, my appreciation for the taste of figs has developed beyond fig newton cookies. (Can one really call a newton a cookie? I'll never know the real answer to that questions. Typically if there isn't chocolate or I can't dip it in milk, I would have to say no). Although I have grown to like figs quite a lot, my knowledge of how to use them in my cooking is limited. This recipe was certainly an adventure for me.

I began by simmering the white wine until it reduced slightly. I then added fresh squeezed orange juice and honey to the wine and allowed it to reduce by about half. I then added the dried figs and poached them for about 5 minutes. They became soft and velvety in texture, with a slight crunch from the seeds on the inside. I served the figs with some pieces of parmesan cheese and a garnish of orange zest and fresh lemon thyme.

The parmesan cheese added a sligh saltiness to the dish and helped to balance the richness of the figs. The lemon thyme added a clean, herby flavor to each bite. Overall, this was a success!

Dried figs poached in white wine and orange juice reduction

4 large dried figs or 8 small, quartered
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup honey
zest of half an orange
1 teaspoon fresh lemon thyme leaves (or regular thyme)
small piece of parmesan cheese

In a saucepan, bring the wine to a simmer. Add the orange juice and honey and continue to simmer until reduced by half. Add the figs. Poach for 5 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, put the figs on a plate. Spoon a little more of the reduction over the top of the figs. Sprinkle with orange zest and thyme. Serve, warm or cold, with parmesan cheese.


vicarious said...

This looks beautiful and delicious.
Good Job!

Anonymous said...


Jenn said...

I love the photos and am super excited that you found something good to do with those precious figs. I only wish I were still with you so I could taste them. Would you serve this as an appetizer or a dessert?

Rachael said...

Yes, those figs were destined for greatness. I would probably serve this as a dessert, but there is no reason it wouldn't work for an appetizer as well!

Estelle M. said...

I just tried this recipe and my husband and I loved it! Thank you!