This is one of Charlotte Fresh’s favorite times of the year because the figs are ripening. I just love their honey-like juicy sweetness. I have been trying to grow my own figs from some baby trees I received from a fellow master gardener, but, alas the deer got to one, and heat got to the fruit on the other. But, have no fear – what I cannot produce, our local farmers will. I happened upon some of the season’s first figs at Big Oak Natural Farm on Wednesday in Matthews. I practically pounced on poor Fred. Don’t they look delicious?
It was a fig bonanza for me. I ate figs for lunch, figs for a snack, figs for breakfast the next day. Hubby doesn’t really like figs because the insides look freaky to him, and they have what he deems an odd texture. I can sort of see that. But it doesn’t stop me from trying to get him to eat them. And so I did. I had arborio rice in the house, so I made a fig risotto, and I lie not – there was not a scrap of fig left on his plate.
Hit the markets on Saturday and try some fig risotto for yourself! But, be prepared – you might have to wrestle me for the figs.
Fresh Recipe: Fig Risotto for Hubby
This makes a great side dish for grilled chicken, or you can serve it up as an entree with some proscuitto. I didn’t have anything but parmesan on hand, but I would make it again with goat cheese or a little gorgonzola. Make it with port instead of white wine, and it will be even richer to serve with beef.
Serves 4 as a side, possibly 2-3 as an entree.
- 1 C arborio rice
- 3 C chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 1/2 C white wine
- 1 small onion or shallot, minced
- 2 Tbs unsalted butter
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- 6-8 figs, diced
- figs for garnish (1 per plate)
- 1/4 C grated parmesan cheese
- salt & pepper to taste
In a saucepan, heat the chicken stock and keep warm on low heat.
In a separate saucepan, melt 1 Tbs butter and saute the diced figs for 1-2 minutes until soft and juices begin to run, but not mushy. Remove from pan and set aside.
In the saucepan you used for the figs melt the remaining butter and add 2 Tbs olive oil. Add the onion and saute for 2-3 minutes, until translucent. Add the arborio rice and stir to coat the rice. Stir and cook the rice on medium-low heat until it starts to become translucent and you see a white spot in the center of the grain. Add the white wine. Stir until the wine is absorbed.
When the wine is absorbed, ladle in the warm stock, one or two ladles at a time. Stir constantly until the rice incorporates the stock, then add more stock. Repeat until the risotto is cooked, creamy and al dente – it should use almost all, if not all the stock. The whole process should take 20-30 minutes.
As you add the last ladle of stock, add the cooked figs, parmesan and salt and pepper to taste. Stir it all in gently and cook until the stock is incorporated.
Serve immediately with a split fig garnish on each plate.