Pickled and Candied Brown Turkey Figs

by Laura on October 13, 2010

This summer I was treated to a storybook week in Santa Fe: beautiful meals, four delicious operas, and charming company.  It was my first time in the city, and I was overwhelmed by the quality of the light, the vastness of the sky, and the lavender mountains at sunset.  It was an unexpectedly beautiful place, and I fell in love with the desert.  I also fell for pickled figs while there.  At a pre-opera party one night, amongst a spread of albondigas with saffron sauce, marcona almonds, Iberico ham, and Drunken Goat cheese, the pickled mission figs were a standout.  This week, when brown turkey figs reappeared in my market, I decided to play.  We are enjoying Indian summer, meteorological technicalities aside, and the loveliest and warmest October in memory, so I decided that, despite the fact that this is my busiest season, and perhaps especially because it is, it was time to lift my head from work for an afternoon for a little cooking project and a little relaxation.  I wondered if I could create a pickled fig that also had a candied quality.  I think this worked!  The skin of the figs has a candied, slightly toothsome chew, which gives way to the sweetness of the figs with a prick of vinegar and spice.

Brown turkey figs are pale green and ruby with a pink to light red interior.  With the warmth of aromatic spices and the rosy hue they take on as they bob in balsamic syrup, they are a lovely summer sunset in a pan, and marry end-of-summer sweetness with impending fall.  Enjoy some now, and pull out a jar when summer is a memory.

Serving Suggestions
Any of the three versions below would be yummy with a wedge of manchego, a Spanish sheep’s milk cheese, or with a nice and creamy goat cheese; I’m especially partial to Cana de Cabera in the Bucheron style from Spain.  A glass of lightly chilled Sauternes or a glass of oloroso sherry would be a happy pairing; my favorite is Lustau East India Solera.  These figs would be nice slivered into an apple pie in the fall.  And in the winter, they would be delicious warmed and spooned over crème fraiche or buttermilk ice cream—but I guess I’m the kind of person who eats ice cream in the wintertime!

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mary Murphy October 13, 2010 at 12:35 pm

just give me a jar!

2 Sophia October 13, 2010 at 5:40 pm


3 Frances October 13, 2010 at 8:24 pm

You need to be a food photographer! Amazing pictures and I can’t wait to try the recipe!

4 Lohini October 13, 2010 at 8:42 pm

Another wonderful endeavor for your talents and gifts. The food photography is brilliant and I know it’s all you! Perhaps you should include some ordering instructions in this blog??? So hungry.

5 Margarey Zwiefelhofer October 13, 2010 at 9:52 pm

Gorgeous, every element of the piece, gorgeous!

6 Kris Jacobson October 18, 2010 at 1:36 pm

This is stunning, Laura. Thank you for sharing this with me. What a beautiful process. How do I get updates?

7 Kris Jacobson October 20, 2010 at 1:47 pm

I loved reading about the apple pie. Would love to taste it! I thought I subscribed but did not get an announcement about the new posting…just happened to check.

8 aparadekto October 26, 2010 at 12:50 pm

Hey, I can’t view your site properly within Opera, I actually hope you look into fixing this.

9 admin October 26, 2010 at 2:06 pm

Thank you for letting me know. I’ll look into it and get it fixed.

10 medical billing November 10, 2010 at 8:53 pm

Great site. A lot of useful information here. I’m sending it to some friends!

11 admin November 11, 2010 at 8:13 am

Thank you! All of you!

12 Ron Tedwater November 12, 2010 at 7:29 pm

Thanks for the post

13 Laura November 12, 2010 at 9:11 pm

You’re welcome! Thank you for reading!

14 Ariel Trana November 22, 2010 at 10:28 am

I attempted to submit a statement before, but it hasn’t shown up. I think the spam filtering may possibly be damaged

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