Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Butter Up!

Well, I've put Chapter 1 (Condiments) of The Kitchen Pantry Cookbook to bed.  The editor has it and we've already run through some revisions so now it's on to Chapter 2, Nut Butters and Spreads.  My husband thinks that it sounds x-rated. Well, I say, "good!"  Let's have a little fun, Beevus and Butthead style.  I've been busting my butt over nuts and fruit, and could use a little laugh.

In honor of poor taste in humor (but great taste in food), let's all imagine a fresh fig.  What does it remind you of? Uh huh. Now let's squish 'em (ouch!) and add a little sugar.

Rosemary Fig Butter
Makes 1 1/2 cups

1 lb of fresh figs

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup port
1 3" sprig of rosemary
a splash of balsamic vinegar, optional

Wash, stem and quarter the figs.  Place them in a sauce pan with water.  Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes, until the figs are squishy soft.

Put the figs through a food mill with a coarse disk to remove the skins.  Return the sauce pan.  Stir in the sugar and port.  Add the rosemary sprig. Bring the figs mixture to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until the figs have thickened to a spreadable consistency, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Finish the fig butter with a splash of balsamic vinegar, if desired.

Cool to room temperature and transfer to a glass jar, cover and refrigerate up to 1 month.

Serving suggestions:
Serve warm with roast pork
Fig butter is wonderful on toast or a flaky croissant
Smear it on a chicken sandwich
Serve it with a cheese tray - I like it with a salty Manchego, sharp Cheddar or creamy Brie
Put a dollop on a baguette slice with Mascarpone and a little prosciutto
Serve it with a rustic caramelized onion and goat cheese tart
Use it for a filling for spice cake


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