FInger lickin’ Figs

Years ago, when visiting local mushroom expert and enthusiast (and of course total foodie) Patrice Benson’s house, I asked about a unique tree in her front yard. She said, “That’s a fig tree; they grow really well here and produce abundantly.”

This set me out to find my own, for I have always loved to grow the garden “unusuals.” The next year, I arrived early to the Seattle Tilth plant sale, and there it was … the lone fig tree! Snatching it up, and obtaining some grower advice, I headed home to plant it in a pot “to force it to bush out.”- it didn’t grow well. But now it lives in my urban garden behind the food studios, and one year it produced a 6 3/4oz fig that looked like a pear!!

Fig season is just about to come to a close, and I urge you to get out there and snatch them up before they are all gone! Fig’s short season make them ideal candidates for preserving. You can dry them, make jam, from them and plump up baked goods with their velvety sweetness. My recipe for Spiced Chicken with Fresh Figs and Port is super delicious and makes great use of this finger lickin’ fall crop.

Spiced Chicken with Fresh Figs and Port
Makes 6 servings

1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
6 skin-on, bone-in chicken breast halves
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pint fresh figs (about 12), halved lengthwise
2 shallots, thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic, sliced
1 lemon, sliced (about 9 slices)
1 cup port wine
1/4 cup picked Italian parsley

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a small bowl, mix together the salt and spices. Then lay out chicken on a baking sheet or a piece of waxed paper or plastic wrap, and sprinkle each piece liberally on both sides with the spice mixture.

In a large nonstick skillet or sauté pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat till hot. Sauté half of the chicken, for about 3 minutes on each side, until the skin is deep golden brown and crispy. As pieces are browned, place them, skin side up, in a 9-by-13-inch roasting pan or lasagna pan that can also be used on top of stove. Repeat with remaining chicken.

Pour off any excess oil, then sauté the figs, shallots, garlic, and lemon for about 1 minute. Add the port and scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Bring just to a boil, and then add the hot mixture, with all the goodies, to the roasting pan, pouring it around, not over, the chicken to keep the browned crust intact.

Roast in preheated oven for about 45 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and nicely roasted, with an internal temperature of 160 degrees F.

Transfer chicken to a platter or individual plates, then with a slotted spoon, retrieve the figs, shallots, garlic, and lemon slices from the sauce, and distribute them over the chicken. Reduce the sauce to 3/4 cup, correct the seasoning, and drizzle the sauce over the chicken and goodies. Scatter with parsley leaves for garnish.

©2005 by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Posted by Kathy on October 17th, 2008  |  Comments Off on FInger lickin’ Figs |  Posted in Dishing with Kathy Casey Blog, Recent Posts

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