Roasted Figs

Serves 4-6 26 August 2020 Dairy Free Gluten Free Vegetarian Friendly
Roasted figs are a gift of the season and personally my favourite way to celebrate and punctuate the end of summer. I could eat these sweet ruby centred soft gems all day in every iteration possible for the few weeks they are at their finest. I mean, eating them raw straight off the tree somewhere in the sunshine is obviously the dream, but when that’s not available…….

Blistering the torn open figs under a high heat with some aromatics and a little honey for just a few minutes intensifies their flavour and gives them a wonderful caramelised crust. Accessorised with a few fresh herbs and a little crunch, roasted figs bridge the savoury and sweet to bring a welcome addition to any meal. 

In salads, I like to pair the roasted figs with some peppery rocket and croutons or toasted hazelnuts, pistachios, almonds or pecans for crunch and a little crumbled goats cheese or feta. For the dessert version simply top with a scoop of your favourite ice cream or creme fraiche. No need to stick with vanilla here – get creative with nutty, sweet, swirled or savoury flavours too like olive oil or ricotta. And let’s not forget the breakfast / brunch options. Seriously….its a roasted figs all day long situation here right now.

Notes: I have used toasted hazelnuts here but feel free to use pistachios or pecans. For ease they can be toasted in advance. Whatever variety of crunch you choose, do not skip the toasting stage.  Its a flavour MUST.  Preheat your oven to 170C (325F). Place the nuts on a rimmed baking tray and toast for 10 minutes until fragrant and slightly golden. If using hazelnuts, place in a clean tea towel and rub off their skins before roughly chopping them with a knife.  (For a nut free version, croutons work brilliantly too for added texture in the dish).

If you want to add a little spice to balance the sweet, feel free to add 1/2tsp Aleppo pepper or chili flakes to the butter/honey mixture.

Rosemary also works well instead of the thyme for a little variety.

Roasted Figs

  • 10 ripe figs
  • 4 tbs honey 
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 15g/1tbs butter (you can use olive oil if you prefer to keep this dairy free)
  • Zest of half an orange (we like to zest it in strips)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • good pinch of salt
  • 50g toasted hazelnuts
  • 10g mint leaves 

As a Savoury Option With:

  • yoghurt (goats, sheep, Greek), granola
  • spooned on top of bircher muesli or porridge
  • on top of toast slathered either with butter or cream cheese or labeneh
  • crumbled soft goats cheese
  • crumbled feta
  • rocket, lambs lettuce leaves, gem hearts, baby chard (the choice is endless)
  • on top of crostini smeared with a soft cheese of just about any variety
  • drizzled with a tahini dressing
  • served with smoked fish or meat

As a Sweet Option With:

  • Ice cream, creme fraiche, greek yoghurt
  • Topped with crumbled halva
  • To top a Pavlova
  • In a trifle
  • For a seasonal Eaton Mess
  • To accessorise cakes such as Honey Cake, Yoghurt Cake, Cardamom Cake

The list is almost endless here…..In the meantime here’s how you make them:

Preheat your oven grill to the highest setting and make sure the oven rack is on the top shelf.

In the smallest saucepan you have, warm together the honey, thyme, butter (or olive oil) and orange zest and until melted.

Tear the figs open by hand, either in rugged halves or quarters, depending on their size. I like how the rough edges catch under the grill.

Place the figs in a shallow oven proof shallow sided baking dish (preferably one that you want to serve in) or small roasting tray. (A shallow sided dish is important so that the heat of the oven grill reaches the top of the figs.) Pour the melted butter and honey mixture over the torn figs, making sure they are evenly coated. 

Sprinkle with a good pinch of malden salt.

Grill the figs with the honey thyme mixture for 5 minutes (but keep an eye on them as it does depend on their size) until slightly blistered and bubbling on top.

Remove from the oven and scatter over the hazelnuts, mint leaves and goats cheese (if using) 

Have you made this dish?

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