Our garden and orto in Firenze has three fig trees, their trunks low and smooth, easy to climb. I would sit on a branch and look for my perfect ‘fico’: green, soft, round, pregnant with the months of hot summer sun. I would peel the skin off with my fingers and eat this garden gold whole, my mouth filled with the song of white teeth and seeds gently grinding. Here in Sydney autumn has began and figs are on every shelf. I put them in Greek yoghurt with a splash of honey in the mornings, at lunch yesterday I had them in a pasta with chilly, olive oil and balsamic vinegar and for dinner last night I put them in a savory tart with caramelized onions and olives. No matter where figs drop they are a gift and no matter where I eat them a part of me finds itself in my trees in Firenze at the end of a summer holiday.
Pasta with Figs recipe
1 and half Tbsp. olive oil
One clove of garlic peeled and cut in half
A tea spoon/2 of chilly flakes
2 chopped tomatoes
3 figs quartered
1 Tbsp. of balsamic vinegar
Ricotta per the tart
A few basil leafs.
Heat the oil, add the garlic and chilly and stir until infused.
Add the chopped tomatoes, a sprinkle of salt and cook for 2 minutes, then add the quarted figs, cook for one minute, add the balsamic vinegar and cook on high heat for another minute or two.
In the meantime cook your favorite pasta– in this case I used fettuccine because that’s what I had in the house.
When you drain the pasta reserve some of the boiling water in a cup, then add the pasta to the pan. Stir it into the sauce, add a splash of the water, then dust with parmigiano and serve.
Savory Fig and Onion tart Recipe
1 and half Tbsp. of olive oil
Your favorite puff pastry recipes/or good quality store bought brand. If I don’t make mine I use Careme.
6 brown onions finely sliced
6 anchovies in oil
A few Kalamata olives
3-4 figs quartered
2 Tbsp. of balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. of brown sugar
Heat the olive oil in a pan, add the onion and cook for at least ten minutes until browning and soft, then add the vinegar and brown sugar and cook for another 2 to 5 minutes. Set the mixture aside to cool.
In the meantime, roll out the pastry and put it in a pie tin, reserving some strands to decorate the top.
Sprinkle parmigiano on the bottom of the pie dish onto the pastry then add the onion mixture evenly. Top with the olives, anchovies, fig and fresh thyme. Decorate the top with the rest of the pastry,
brush with some egg wash and put in the oven at about 180 for 40 minutes. If the top looks like it’s browning too much top with foil for half the cooking. enjoy with a rocket salad, a slice of mozzarella and since its the weekend add a bit of prosciutto crudo