Figs Two Ways: Caramelized or Roasted
Fig season is here! I never really got acquainted with the fig up until this past year, and this is my first time I've cooked with them or eaten them raw. I wasn't too familiar with them before, and then the whole cross-pollination thing between a certain creepy crawley and figs (don't click if you're easily freaked out) warded me off for awhile... but I got over it because it's not a legit concern or reason to not eat these beautiful fruits. Plus, with my being allergic to about 80% of all fruit, I'll take whatever fruit I can eat.
Having had the majority of my childhood in Florida in the nineties, this is what I really thought a fig looked like:
Anyhow, fast forward to last year when I had a bite out of (and nearly stole the rest of) my friend's panini from Eataly that consisted of Prosciutto, Fontina, and Fig Jam, I started sniffing out figs wherever I could. I was determined to learn different ways of cooking them the next time fig season was here, and tadaa here it is. I picked up some black mission figs this time- the other common varieties are brown turkey (also dark w/a bit of green), and kadota (pure green exterior).
You can eat figs raw, with a gentle rinsing of the skin- they are milder and a bit more tart this way. However, I had other things in mind for my little carton of fresh figs. After looking at a million ways to cook them, I decided on trying to caramelize some of them on the stovetop and roast some of them in the oven.
As for ingredients used, it seemed that honey and rosemary were popular choices for both cooking methods- so I kept it simple and used those two ingredients for both preparations
Now, I'm a sucker for anything that has "caramelized" in front of it, whether it be savory like onions or sweet with fruit; so, I may be a bit biased but I found that the stovetop cooked the figs to my liking quicker and drew out the fig's natural sweetness better. BUT, I did really like the roasted as well and they were less sticky/more portable, so you can't lose- completely just depends on your personal preference.
I also had different serving uses in mind for the caramelized figs and the roasted figs- those recipes will posted in the next two days so you can enjoy figs for days on days.
Figs are an excellent source of dietary fiber, phytonutrients, minerals, potassium, and flavonoid anti-oxidants. Black mission figs, in particular, possess great levels of carotenes and lutein. 1 medium fig is about 37 calories, 10g carb, .4g protein, .2g fat.
So first up, we will do roasted, as it takes a bit more time. I actually made both versions simultaneously rather easily, as you can cook them on the stovetop while the other batch is roasting in the oven.
Method 1: Roasted Figs w/Rosemary & Honey
*fits in a 2-qt glass baking dish
~1 dozen medium Black Mission Figs
2 tbsp Honey
3-4 sprigs of fresh Rosemary
1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
2. Gently wash and dry figs. Slice off tops w/stems and cut fig in half, vertically.
3. Place figs cut-side up in baking dish. Using your hands, break up sprigs of Rosemary to evenly distribute throughout baking dish. Top off with honey.
4. Place baking dish in pre-heated oven and bake for about 15 minutes until slightly darker and a bit caramelized.
5. Let dish cool for a few minutes, and serve.
Method 2: Caramelized Figs w/Rosemary & Honey
~1/2 dozen medium Black Mission Figs
1-2 tbsp Honey, to taste
1 sprigs of fresh Rosemary, broken into small pieces
1. Gently wash and dry figs. Slice off tops w/stems and cut fig in half, vertically.
2. Heat up a small sautepan or skillet on medium heat. Add honey to the pan, and sprinkle rosemary leaves in. Let heat until gently bubbling, about a minute.
3. Add figs to pan, cut-side down, and continue to cook medium-low heat for about 3 minutes.
4. Flip figs over and cook for another minute or two.
5. Plate, and let cool for a few minutes before serving.