Foraging is secret #2 on my list of 10 Antidotes for Civilization and the summer figs are finally ripe for the picking. Phineas and I collected our first bounty from two fig trees overhanging into our local soccer field, heavy with ripe figs. The green is the Calimyrna fig and the blue-black one is the Black Mission Fig.
Although considered a fruit, the fig is actually a flower that is inverted into itself. The seeds inside are the real fruit, otherwise known as drupes or stone fruits. The fig is my favorite edible flower and much underappreciated by those who have only eaten them raw. Gently poaching figs in a gin & wine bath brings out their inherent sweetness. Read more here about figs and their amazing health benefits.
FOUND: A vintage French enamel pot from Elsie Green House & Home, a family-run business that embraces the belief that not making something new is the greenest thing of all.
Gin-Poached figs adapted from a recipe by Erika Anne Kubick.
- Fig Bath:
- ½ cup simple syrup (1/2 cup sugar dissolved in 1 cup hot water. Store excess in refrigerator.)
- 2 oz. gin
- 1 oz vermouth (white wine is an okay substitute)
- ½ cup water
- 1 TBSP lemon juice
- 2 cloves
- 2 strips lemon zest
- 4 peppercorns
- Handful of figs (6-8)
- Salad Ingredients:
- 2-4 cups arugula (2-4 persons)
- Handful of strawberries, stems removed, halved or quartered
- 7 poached figs, sliced in half or quarters
- 1-2 TBSP toasted pinenuts (optional)
- 2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
- 2 TBSP reduced & thickened gin & vermouth liquid
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- Place a small saucepan over medium heat, and add all the fig bath ingredients except the figs. Bring to a simmer.
- Add the sliced figs, making sure they are fully immersed in bath and cook for 5 minutes until soft but not mushy.
- Remove the figs with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool. Reduce the remaining syrup until thick.
- Once thickened, set the syrup aside to cool to room temperature.
- Meanwhile, layer arugula greens on each plate with sliced strawberries and cooled figs.
- Whisk balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and reduced fig syrup together in a small bowl.
- Drizzle vinaigrette on each salad or toss together in large salad bowl.
- Sprinkle nuts on top to finish.