Thursday, September 15, 2011

On The Menu: Fig sauce

Lusciously sweet figs always remind me of the beginning of fall. These fiber-rich fruit are loaded with potassium and are ready to take a starring role as a delectable fig sauce on just about any dinner plate.


Image via Graffiti Gossip.


I'm really fond of fig sauce layered over pork or poultry. It has a delectable sweetness that complements the meat beautifully. The fig sauce recipe below is my favorite, particularly with pork tenderloin. Give it a try ... I think you'll love it, too.

Image via Cooking with Class Paris.
FIG SAUCE

Ingredients:

4 or 6 ripe figs, washed, chopped
1 cup red wine (chianti, bordeaux, cote du rhone...)
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp black peppercorn
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp honey
2 bay leaves
1 cup Heavy cream (35%)

Procedure:

In a small saucepan add figs, wine, cinnamon and pepper. Bring to a boil.
Let alcohol evaporate, then reduce by half.
Off heat, remove cinnamon stick.
Puree in a blender (add a bit of water if too thick), then strain through a fine mesh.
Add balsamic vinegar and honey. Adjust thickness with water if necessary.

Serve Pork Tenderloin and Fig Sauce with potato puree or other seasonal vegetables.

I had the pleasure of eating Duck in Brandied Fig Sauce years ago in Paris. Immediately I set out to find a recipe that I could one day make with the hope of duplicating the amazing flavor of this dish. Voila! I think I may have found it in Saveur Magazine.

Image and recipe via Saveur Magazine.

An elegant vehicle for Preserved Figs, this dish was inspired by author Eugenia Bone. Four small pekin breasts or two large magret breasts make a rich, meaty counterpoint to the sweet, chunky figs in brandy. In order to cook evenly and create an attractive, crisp skin, trim all but a thin layer of fat from the duck breasts before cooking. Render, strain, and refrigerate the excess fat for other uses, such as making french fries or confits.

DUCK IN BRANDIED FIG SAUCE
 
Ingredients:
4 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. fresh sage, roughly chopped
6 garlic cloves, smashed
Zest of 1 orange, roughly chopped, plus more grated, to garnish
1/4 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
2 magret or 4 pekin duck breasts, fat trimmed down to 1/4" thick and scored crosswise and lengthwise
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1 pint figs in brandy, stemmed, roughly chopped, syrup reserved
1 cup chicken broth
2 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley, to garnish
 
Directions:
In a large bowl, mix oil, sage, garlic, orange zest, and chile flakes. Stir to combine. Season duck breasts with salt and pepper. Add breasts to the marinade, tossing them until they are evenly coated. Cover the breasts with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
 
Heat a 12" skillet over a medium heat. Scrape the marinade from the duck breasts and transfer them to the pan, placing them fat side down. Brown the breasts, rendering the fat until it is brown and crisp, about 10–12 minutes. Invert the breasts with tongs and cook with the flesh side down, until the duck is medium rare, about 2–4 minutes. Transfer breasts to a serving platter and cover with foil.
 
Pour off all but 2 tbsp. fat from the skillet; strain and reserve the rest for another use. Add the shallots and cook, stirring frequently, over medium-low heat until they are soft and translucent, about 2 minutes. Add chopped figs, syrup, and broth to the skillet. Increase heat to medium high and boil gently, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen the browned bits, until the sauce is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the butter to the sauce and stir to combine; season with salt and pepper, if you like. Turn off heat and set sauce aside.
 
Transfer duck breasts to a cutting board. Pour any accumulated duck jus from the platter into the skillet; stir to combine. Thinly slice the duck breast on the bias and transfer pieces back to the platter. Spoon fig sauce over sliced duck and garnish with parsley and orange zest, if you like. Serve leftover fig sauce in a bowl alongside.
 
Serves 4.


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