Posts Tagged ‘figs’

Fig Pesto Pizza

IMG_0624We have another bumper crop of figs this year, and since we don’t make fig jam or fig preserves, we are always on the lookout for good ways to use them. Sure we freeze quite a few to enjoy later in the year (just wash, let dry, and freeze whole), but we love eating them fresh, both raw and cooked as part of the meal. Figs are very nutritious and combine well in a stir-fry or our favorite, fig and gorgonzola pasta.

This week, Parade had a recipe for fig and prosciutto pizza, but I had already been thinking about using figs on a pizza. Since we’re vegetarians, I ignored the prosciutto recipe and came up with one of my own.

I start with a basic pizza dough recipe, which is essentially half a cup of water, yeast, flour, oil, sugar and salt (for two people). I disolve my yeast in the water, add a little sugar or molasses, then stir in enough white flour to make a muddy paste (the sponge of bread). After stirring this awhile to build up some gluten, I then add about a Tbs of olive oil and a dash of salt, then add whole wheat flour to make a soft bread dough. Coat the bowl with a little more oil, cover and let rise for at least half an hour before pressing out on your  pizza stone or pan. Or you can buy premade pizza dough, but homemade is so much better.

For the sauce, I sliced half an onion in rounds or half-rounds, then sautéed with a little garlic in olive oil until translucent and a little carmelized. Then I added mushrooms and a little asian eggplant, though you could leave them out if you prefer, along with a few chopped up figs and the juice of a tomato.

Tip: The tomato juice is a litte trick I use. When I want to use fresh tomato and don’t want it to be too runny, like when I add chopped tomato on top of pizza or on tacos, I quarter it, then squeeze the seeds and juice into whatever I’m cooking, so I don’t lose the flavor. The juice cooks down, and I”m left with the solid parts of the tomato, which I can then chop up, reserving to add raw at the end so they won’t cook too much and get mushy.

The pesto forms the base layer of this pizza. It’s just pine nuts, garlic, and herbs (for this, I used basil, oregeno, and rosemary because that’s what I had and I wanted a spicier pesto than basil alone would be—arugula would also work well). I chopped this into a paste in our mini food processor with enough olive oil to make it a paste. I did not add any parmesan, which I normally do with a pesto, but the cheese will be on top.

Spread the pesto evenly across the pizza, then add the onions, etc., on top of that. Then add quartered figs, chopped tomato, and kalamata olives. I used about 2 oz. of gorgonzola cheeze (leftover from our last fig pasta), a little mozzarella, and some parmesan. Bake for about 20 minutes at 425 degrees (or until done), and enjoy!

Ginger Chick’n & Fig Stir-Fry

It’s been quite awhile since I posted any recipes to this blog. That’s in part because I’ve tried to make it more about writing, and maybe because I haven’t tried out many new meals — until tonight! And I apologize for not taking a picture, but I wasn’t 100% sure it would turn out good enough to blog about, but it did. And it looked as good as it tasted.

Here’s what led to the recipe: This summer we’re having a bumper crop of figs. We’ve already had our favorite Fresh Fig and Gorgonzola Pasta three times, and we’ve frozen figs to make it again later. So this morning, after picking another batch of fresh figs from the trees in our yard and putting some of them in the freezer, I wondered what to do with the rest. There were more than I wanted to just eat raw (though I did have some), and more will be ripening soon, so I figured I should cook with them and decided to give a stir-fry a try. It was delicious! (Try it if you have figs and don’t believe me — I dare you.)

You already know the main ingredients from the title, and really, I expect you couldn’t go too wrong no matter what else you throw in, but let me explain what I did.

Since we’re vegetarians, the protein base of this meal is called Quorn. They make two varieties: a ground beef substitute and a chicken substitute. To be honest, it’s been so long since I’ve eaten actual chicken, I don’t know whether it’s much like the real thing or not, but that doesn’t really matter. Quorn has a firmer texture than tofu, which makes it a good candidate for this dish. Tempeh or seitan might work well, too, and tofu would be all right but a little soft in texture, even if you get extra-firm. Ginger adds a little bite, and the figs add sweetness. The combination was great, especially with the other vegetables I threw in.

I always start a stir-fry with some onion and garlic in oil. In this case, I added a generous amount of diced ginger, at least a tablespoon, probably more for 1-2 servings. Then I added one small Thai eggplant (the long skinny kind), one small yellow squash, a small sweet pepper, and a couple of mushrooms. I let those fry in a wok for several minutes while my pasta water boiled.

Tonight, I used linguine because that’s what I had on hand, but it would be good with a sturdy rice noodle or bean thread or even asian egg noodle— anything as think as linguine or thicker ought to do well. Boil or soak until soft (follow the cooking directions).

To the stir-fry, I added curry powder, cayenne, and cumin as it was cooking, then added the Quorn Chick’n pieces. Since they’re pre-cooked, all they really need is some time to heat up (you store them in the freezer) and absorb the cooking juices. I also added soy sauce and a little bit of sugar to the mix.

Near the end of the stir-frying, I added one small tomato, chopped, and several quartered fresh figs (about as much volume as the tomato). Then I tossed in a few fresh basil leaves that I had cut into large pieces and a little Sriracha for good measure. Once the noodles were ready, I drained them and then tossed in the wok with the stir-fry to absorb the liquid.

The first bite was to die for — a little sweet, savory, and picante. The heat wasn’t too much (for me), so the basil stood out, especially when I got a bite with a good piece. The tomato and fig didn’t cook too much, so they didn’t lose their shape, and the Quorn gave it just the right texture.

As always with my recipes, it’s more about the principle than the exact ingredients. If you have other veggies on hand or if you prefer to cook with tempeh (its nutty flavor ought to pair well in this dish), then go for it! If you have more fresh figs than you know what to do with, then give this concept a try. It’s hard to go wrong with figs as long as you don’t overcook them. Next time I might try throwing in a little lemon or lime or even orange juice, just to give it a little citrus tang. Or a little cooking sherry to bring out the sweet side even more.