One day last summer I invited some blogging friends to spend the afternoon at the ranch. We usually take turns hosting a monthly meeting to encourage each other’s goals and share blogging tips, but this time we all needed a day to just relax. Mary Platis of California Greek Girl brought melt-in-your-mouth pulled pork, some small buns, and homemade fig chutney for pork sliders. I’ve had pulled pork sliders with barbecue sauce, but never fig chutney…and it was life changing!
The next week Mary brought me a whole flat of fresh figs from the California Fig Advisory Board. Our blogging group had been invited to create some fig dishes and post them on our blogs to promote the California Fig Fest being held in San Diego. What to do with all those figs?
Each of us contributed fig recipes to a ‘Link-up” which was shared on all our blogs. On the big day, we all had a great time at the California Fig Fest, tasting amazing foods that showcased California figs. Each dish used at least one fig, so it was impossible to taste them all. How many figs can one person eat in one afternoon?
There were still plenty of figs in my fridge after the Fig Fest was over. Luckily I noticed that Erika of In Erika’s Kitchen in Los Angeles was making fig relish and posting photos on Facebook. Erika shared the recipe for her Fig Balsamic Vinegar Relish using only fresh figs, so I chopped up all of leftover figs and followed her directions. Instead of using honey, I decided to substitute Vermont maple syrup. (I can’t bring myself to make a recipe without changing something…is there a name for this condition?)
I chopped up all the figs I had left. Meanwhile, 2 thinly sliced and diced red onions were slowly sizzling away in a little olive oil. I added the chopped figs, 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup maple syrup, and 1/2 tsp salt. I sprinkled in some freshly ground pepper (1/4 tsp-ish) and a sprig’s worth of minced rosemary leaves from my garden. That’s it. I followed Erika’s instructions closely except for the maple syrup. Then I just let it simmer on the stove for about an hour until it had thickened.
After the fig relish had cooled, I poured it into a glass jar, put on the cover and set it into the fridge. I honestly intended leaving it in the refrigerator for several days as Erika stated in her blog post. I wanted to eat some on multigrain crackers with goat cheese just like Erika did, on a cute serving board like she had in her photograph. But I cheated. The very next day I opened that jar of relish, and tasted some on my finger. I had no multigrain crackers and no goat cheese. Not to worry. Out came the box of pita crackers, and a packet of soft cream cheese. And a glass of wine.
Did the fig relish taste better after three days? I have no idea. It was all gone by then.