Drunken Figs
by the Webmaster
Inspired by a dish served at Wine Cellars Uncorked in Eustis

Makes: 4 servings. Preparation time: 80 minutes. image

[Fresh Figs can be substituted in the fall months when available in the Fresh Produce Department. Use 3 Cups instead of 1.] Put the Vinegar, Port Wine, Sugar, Salt and Bay Leaf [optional] in a medium sized saucepan, stir to mix, then add the Figs. Add enough Water to cover the Figs and bring it to a boil on the stove. Stir occasionally to blend the mix. The Figs will "plump-up". At boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pan. Simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and let sit, still covered, on the stove for an hour or so, until it comes down to room temperature. [These can be stored in an air-tight jar in the refrigerator for about a week if you want to prepare ahead of time.]

Trim the stems if necessary. Slice each Fig in half (length-wise) on a cutting board. Warm them in the microwave or 200 degree oven before assembling. Serve by arranging a few (4-6) Fig halves artistically on a small plate, insides facing up. Drizzle a few drops of Balsamic Vinegar over each half. Serving it with a strong flavored crumbled cheese sprinkled on top, like Bleu or Gorgonzola, is recommended. The vinegar in this dish does not make it "wine friendly". However, serving it with a glass of good Ruby Port will add to the flavor spectrum.

"Fig" - The Fig is a sign of Peace and Prosperity. Figs are native to Asia and the Middle East and belong to the Mulberry family, as genus: Ficus. They are high in fiber and calories. Figs easily grow in Florida, where the "Brown Turkey" variety is prolific. Figs can grow as far north as New York State if "buried" during the winter months. The Fig trees were first planted in California in 1880. In ancient time, the white milky sap of the tree was used to remove warts and to soften calluses. This is not recommended today, because of its toxicity to skin. Smyrna Figs require cross polination by a Fig Wasp that is still present in the fruit when harvested. Black Mission and Brown Turkey varieties do not need cross polination and are Wasp-free. Fig Newtons®, a NABISCO product, was started in 1891 and were named after the town of Newton, MA., not Sir Isaac Newton. Since Figs (and Prunes) are associated with the older generation, NABISCO (now KRAFT FOODS) dropped the word Fig from its product in 2012 and they are now just called Newtons®.

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