August 24, 2011

Figs for Bartholomew

Figs, from Tartlette

Today is the Feast of St. Bartholomew, one of the 12 apostles, mentioned in the synoptic Gospels and Acts. He is commonly considered to be the Nathaniel that is mention in John, as sitting under a fig tree when called by Christ to join him:
Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets, Jesus, son of Joseph, from Nazareth.” But Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Here is a true Israelite. There is no duplicity in him.” Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.” Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.” And he said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see the sky opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
(I love this passage.  What was Nathaniel thinking of there under the fig tree? What is the importance of such a little thing.)

Coincidentally (or providentially), the feast of St. Bartholomew is at the start of Fig season.  So I always like to find a couple of fresh figs on this day, and cook up something fun and tasty. Figs are, of course, ehavenly on their own or with a slice of cheese.  But they're also very diverse, and easily dressed up to be the star piece of a meal. Here are a few ideas:

+ Tartlette has two amazing fig recipes: A fig Gauteau de Riz (or rice tart) and Fig/Quinoa tabouleh (I love playing up the savory aspect of the figs.)

+ These stuffed figs with honey and pistachio are little bits of Mediterranean heaven, and incredibly simple.

+ Chicken with figs, wine, and honey make a decadent and elegant and quick dinner for one (on Food52)
+ Or, for a fancy dinner party, try chicken roasted with figs and olives (recommended by Renidemus).  This, too me, sounds like perfection.  The deep mellowness of the figs balanced with the bright brine of olive, melded to the robust chicken.  Lovely!

+ If my neighbor (who has a lush little fig tree) is willing to part with her stock, I'll be making these Figs Preserved with Lemons, from Canadian canner Well Preserved.  Look for them at Jams by Mags in October.

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