I'll admit that I didn't grow up on fresh figs and my only childhood food memories related to figs were eating Fig Newtons after school. This could be because there wasn't much distribution of figs in the Midwest at that time and they likely still aren't that easy to find yet. The U.S. is ranked 3rd in the world for production of dried figs and California produces 100% of them. California also produces 98% of the fresh figs. I was so excited to discover the taste of fresh figs here in DC at a dinner celebrating the Year of the Fig.
Art and Soul hosted an amazing feast featuring my new favorite fruit, the FIG! Chef Wes Morton wowed us with his creativity in cooking up a 4-course menu with fantastic wine pairings. Each variety of figs has a unique and delicious flavor ranging from deep earthy tones to a buttery-nuttiness.
We started with a Macerated Brown Turkey Fig Salad with caramelized fennel, naval orange, and watercress fennel frond vinaigrette. This starter was paired with a Copain Rose, "Tous Ensemble" Anderson Valley, CA 2010. The brown turkey figs have a light purple to black skin with robust flavor similar to a Pinot Noir wine.
Next we had the Pekin Duck Roulade with andouille sausage, liver mousse, turnips and port glazed figs.
After that we tried the Gorgonzola Dolce with red wine-fig chutney, toasted pecans and spiced levain. I was in heaven with each bite. I love the texture of the seeds.
To top off the meal, we indulged in a dried fig tart with almond pate brisee, whipped mascarpone and local honey paired with a 1927 Alvear Pedro Ximenez Solera. Well done Chef!
I'll be making some fig dishes to go with our lamb feast over the weekend. Stay tuned for the recipes!
Photos by Kristen Finn
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