Figs are one of my favourite fruit and the season is sadly so short… Therefore I cannot resist buying them when I happen to find them on a London fruit stall. I found these in Bayswater as I was coming out of my exam room last week and bought a huge bag of it. The smell was all I needed to feel on holiday again…
This recipe was inspired by a dish my friend Sandrine made for us once at her beautiful place Le Domaine des Clos in Provence. Sandrine is married to a childhood friend of mine and I love spending time with them in the summer because they love what they do and they do it well and their friendship is one of the things that I always can count on when I head back to my birth town. I had kept a fragrant memory of this meal and especially of the plump figs, stewed in thick juice and creamy goat cheese that were served as a starter.
Fruit stall in one of Berlin’s markets
- 10 to 12 figs, unpeeled and washed
- 200g of fresh goat cheese
- 150 of cream cheese
- Handful of chopped basil
- Cracked pepper
Wash and cut the tail end of the figs.
Slice them and arrange in an oven proof dish.
Mix the goat cheese and cream cheese together – This is only for the local version as English goat cheese tend to be dryer ; whereas elsewhere you might use a fresh creamy goat cheese on its own.
Drop dollops of the cheese amongst the fruit. Add pepper and basil leaves.
Bake in a hot oven for 30 minutes until the fruit are cooked and the juice has thickened. It is usually even better reheated the next day!
Serve as a starter with some Muscat de Rivesaltes or Sauternes. I adored this with a bottle of Macia Batle Dolce from Mallorca – a sweet white with remarquable balance and powerful aromas of white flowers and almond.
Figs and cheese
One great pleasure to be derived from travelling is the coming home
with a notebook full of new dishes, unusual ingredients and new ways
of accommodating old ones!
This lovely melting ‘tumbet’ was first served to us in Santa Maria dei
Cami with a ripe and rich Macia Batle 2007 from the nearby cellars!
A thoroughly pleasurable combination which proves once more that there is a truth in combining local dishes to local wines that no amount of theory can unravel.
Red peppers 3
Potatoes 3 large ones
Spanish virgin olive oil
Wash the aubergines and slice them. Then rub them with a bit of salt and let them ooze out a bit. Later you can rinse and pat them dry and they will be ready to fry.
Wash and peel all the other vegetables separately then fry them in batches, starting with the potatoes and finishing with the combined chopped onions and chopped seeded tomatoes. This last batch will be your sauce but make sure it does not get too wet because the dish needs to have a good, meaty concentration without being too juicy. Reserve each batch in a separate bowl.
Ideally you will use several individual terracotta dishes, or one single one. Start layering the cooked vegetable starting with the tomato and onion then a layer of potatoe, followed by aubergines then peppers and a last coat of tomatoes. Put in a warm oven for 40 minutes or until all the layers melt under the spoon as soon as it is inserted!
A truly simple dish in the sense that Escoffier must have meant when he advocated “Faites simple”, as in be true, be real, let the ingredients shine through as they simply should. Hence no other seasoning is needed here than a little sea salt and the purest olive oil.