One of my favorite memories of my childhood was my grandparent’s huge mission fig tree. My grandmother had made a little play area under the shade of the tree for her grandchildren. She had found a small old iron stove and put it under it for us to ‘cook’ with. I had a very dashing dining table made out of a large wooden spool that at one time held irrigation pipe. My chairs were logs from the wood pile … The French Laundry had nothing on my décor! I made some amazing mud pies under that tree. My uncle caught my grandmother’s dog Ludwig, a very culinary mutt, eating one of my creations. Who knew dirt could taste so good?
Now I don’t have that wooden spool anymore for a table, but I still like to set up a nice platter for my friends. One of my favorite meals is to have what my mother used to call, “Brie feeds.” It’s pretty informal, different cheeses, crackers, breads, nuts, fruits and some types of meat. Some of my favorite types of cheese are goat or a really smelly blue, and then add something slightly sweet to them. Gorgonzola on apple slices, or a piece of toast with goat cheese and smear of fig caviar just make my taste buds rejoice.
I designed this fig caviar with fresh figs the first time, and then thought … not everyone lives in California and can’t get fresh figs at the market. Back to the store I went and bought some dried figs. You can either use white or mission figs … if you do use fresh, peel them first. When making this caviar know that it’s going to take a lot of time, I usually make it on a lazy Sunday, then put it in a container and leave it in the fridge. It should be good for a couple of weeks. This pairs well with most wine and cheese.
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 sprig of rosemary
- 14 oz. of dried figs--stemmed and halved
- 1 ½ cup of white balsamic vinegar – or apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup of brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon of black pepper
- 1 teaspoon of Kosher Salt
- 6 cups of water
- Step 1 Put all ingredients in large pot over low heat and simmer for close to two hours.
- Step 2 Remove stem of rosemary, the rosemary leaves can stay in pot.
- Step 3 Remove the bay leaves.
- Step 4 Take mixture and puree in food processor … It’s okay if the fig seeds aren’t mashed up.
- Step 5 Store the caviar in a sealed container in the refrigerator.