They come fresh or dry, in yellow or purple, from California and Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries. They are in restaurants, supermarkets, fruit stands, backyards, and inside some very famous cookies. What are they? They're figs -- one of America's favorite fruits.
From Mission and Kadota figs to Adriatic and Calimyrna varieties, award-winning cookbook author Marie Simmons leaves no fig or fig leaf unturned in this extraordinary book about this most extraordinary fruit: Fig Heaven.
Figs are harvested in late summer and early fall, but, fortunately for us, they are easily dried and packaged, so they're available all year long. Packed with vitamins and antioxidants, plump, fragrant figs are guilt-free indulgences that can be enjoyed in countless ways.
Fig Heaven is an inviting, comprehensive cookbook offering 70 recipes for both fresh and dried figs. They range from appetizers, salads, and sandwiches to entrées and desserts.
On the savory side, you'll find Open-Faced Dried Fig and Melted Blue Cheese Sandwiches; Fettuccine with Fresh Figs, Lemon, and Rosemary; and Lamb Pilaf with Artichokes and Dried Figs. If your sweet tooth needs some real satisfaction, there's a Fresh Fig and Peach Crumble, Dried Fig and Walnut Biscotti, and Molten Chocolate Roasted Figs with Vanilla Custard Sauce.
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Marie Simmons, former food editor of Cuisine, is a regular contributor to Woman's Day, Bon Appétit, and Good Food. She is the author of several cookbooks, including The Good Egg, The Amazing World of Rice, and Fresh & Fast: Inspired Cooking for Every Season and Every Day.From Booklist:
Most Americans recognize figs only from the thick, sweet, gummy filling of mass-produced cookies. But anyone who has relished the honeyed interior of a perfectly ripe fresh fig understands why the ancients so prized this fruit. Nowadays green and black fresh figs appear seasonally in supermarkets. Simmons recognizes that the prime time for fresh figs is brief, so her book includes recipes for both fresh and dried varieties in her compilation of fig recipes. Appetizer ideas include the ubiquitous figs with prosciutto, but then go beyond that to such savories as crostini with fig jam and goat cheese, and bacon-wrapped figs first poached in wine. In main dishes, figs serve as a sweet note in spicy curries or as star of a very contemporary salsa. Few desserts surpass the elegant spectacle of a fresh fig tart, the glazed split fruits sparkling like jewels within a sea of pastry cream. And for those nostalgic for the commercial stuffed cookie, Simmons explains how to make superlative Fig Newtons at home. Color illustrations contribute both beauty and utility. Mark Knoblauch
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