Thursday, September 7, 2017

Do Give A Fig, It's The Season!

Our fig tree will continue to regale us with its fruits for this month of September. Not too far south of us, in Provence, the harvest is much beloved and is celebrated via several festivals. A conte forlorique (fairy tale) from the Aubrac region that is as beloved, is Le Panier de Figues. En bref, the king, who is a great lover of fresh figs, promises his daughter to a local lad who is able to present him with a basket of the best figs.


Three brothers take up the challenge. The first two are rude to an old woman on their way to the king. When they arrive, the king eagerly uncovers the basket only to see, and I am assuming, smell, a bunch of turds. The third son who was kind and polite to the old woman, not only does not have his figs transformed into something revoltingly inedible, he also is given a whistle.

The fig itself is an enlarged, hollow stem containing flowers which when pollinated by wasps (yes, wasps! who squirm their way inside), the blooms become individual druplets that set seed

Being a king, and being able to do whatever he pleases, Mr. Royalty imposes an additional condition, that once his rabbits who are known to be extremely rambunctious are released, they must be all recovered. Yes, the whistle. Its works even on willy nilly rabbits. And even if Mr. and Mrs. Royalty don clever disguises as earnest rabbit buyers willing to subject themselves to painful laceration and discomfiture from crawling under a very thorny rosebush. The royal one however does not quit when the quitting is good and insists the lad reveal three secrets. The lad then begins to describe injuries which are incurred when scrabbling under a thorny rosebush. To keep the boy silent, the king suddenly and finally keeps his promise. The moral is if you want to get the girl, be nice to old women.


Fresh figs lend themselves to not only fancy dishes, but also to easy and simple. Tuck in a noix (the size of a hazelnut) of sweet butter into the centre crevices of halved figs. 


Place fairly close under a preheated broiler for about three minutes or until the edges are browned and the surface is a bit bubbly.


A large serving spoon best be used to trap all the delicious ooze.


Broiled figs can be served over ice cream for a sweet delice or accompany savoury fish, lamb, chicken, and pork main dishes.


As the potager is still giving us some raspberries and strawberries, they got mixed with chopped figs. The melange makes a luscious topping for yogurt.


For an oh-so-tasty first course, add Parmesan shavings to a plate of quartered figs. Sprinkle balsamic or fruit vinegar (in my case, apple cider vinegar). Finish with a grinding of black pepper.


The leaves are delightful in being large, flexible, shiny, dark green, and conveniently lobed. Just ask Adam and Eve. (Does the fig's reputation as an aphrodisiac get somewhat mollified because of its role in keeping the supposedly first humans modestly covered?) And by October, when all will be on the ground, they will be raked along with the ones from the oak and fruit trees into a compost pile. The mound will be covered with tree netting secured with tiles and stones so the wind won't undo all that raking. Leaf mould possesses enormous capacity for retaining moisture so as a supplement to be incorporated to easily baked soil like our garden soil, it is unsurpassed.

It's the smallest I could find which is the size of my spread-out hand

À la prochaine!

RELATED LINKS

Le panier de figues (In french)
15 deliciously quick fig recipes (including the three in my post)

Fig festival Mas d'Azil
Fig Festival Solliès-Pont