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Monday, August 10, 2009


Carrie has this crazy, giant fig tree growing into the side of her house, and it's loaded with fruit, so T. and I went over yesterday to say hi and pick as many as we could before the heat, yellow jackets, and crankiness had their way with us. The first thing I did when we got home, while D. cleaned up the kid and kept her happy by talking about parties with her, was set aside three pounds for preserves and sear the rest in a skillet:

Seared Figs with Mustard Seeds and Curry Leaves

This is via my friend Regan, although I'm not sure if this is exactly how she did it that one time, and she says it came from Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian. Now that I look at that page over on Amazon, though, I see that the dish has a squeeze of lemon juice and some cayenne—both of which would be nice, it's true. Also that recipe has quantities and everything. Fancy!
Vegetable oil or ghee (or a little oil and a little butter)
Ripe fresh figs, halved
Handful of fresh curry leaves
Yellow mustard seeds
Kosher salt
In a heavy skillet over medium-high heat, heat a bit of oil—just enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the figs and arrange them cut side down in the pan, then sprinkle in the curry leaves, mustard seeds, and a pinch or two of salt. Cook, without disturbing, until the figs are nicely browned on the bottom, 4 to 5 minutes. Use a thin metal spatula to turn the figs over and cook just until they're soft and glazed-looking, about 1 more minute. Serve warm.

Then I made some fig preserves, the first of this season, kind of winging it based on Regan's description of another fig dish she loved once, roasted figs with ricotta. It worked very well, and even though a version of this recipe will be in my book about canning and preserving (almost finished now, and due to come out next year!) I thought I'd post it here anyway for loyal friends and family who still have old Pie and Beer in their readers, blogrolls, or whatever.

Thank you, Regan, for passing along your extensive fig knowledge, and thank you, Carrie, for passing along the figs!