Fig spread is the perfect accompaniment to cheese, crackers or even better, slathered on crunchy toast.
Full disclosure? I’ve never liked fig newtons. I think we always had a package in our pantry cabinet when I was a kid, but no matter how big my sweet tooth I was never tempted. But I do love figs. Fresh, dried, jammed…I’ll take figs in every form (obviously other than the newton).
To me figs and cheese are as perfect a pairing as Laverne and Shirley, Will and Grace or Ross and Rachel. I’ve practically shouted from the rooftops again and again how I love to marry sweet and salty and this is the perfect example. I could pretty much exist solely on this cheese board chock full of hard nutty cheeses, soft tangy wedges and crumbly bold blues paired with crusty bread, a handful of nuts and this fig spread (with a glass of red wine of course).
But my fig affection isn’t limited to just cheese plates. I love fresh figs as a snack, sautéed or grilled for a quick appetizer or served with some whipped mascarpone for an easy dessert. I mean, fig season is here people and I can’t seem to leave the grocery store without a pint in hand.
But it seems my recent fig buying was more aggressive than my fig consumption, so this spread was born out of necessity. I needed to cook those babies at their peak before they could turn to mush. And boy am I glad I did.
I have been buying jars of fig spread for years. Like my parents and the fig newtons, I always seem to have a jar of fig jam at the ready. If friends drop by, I can grab a block of cheese, some olives, crackers and that trusty spread and we’re off to the entertaining races.
So clearly I knew what to do with my recent abundance of ripe figs. I really wanted the flavor of the figs to shine in this spread, but I also love an herby undertone. I added some fresh rosemary and amped up the flavor with some brandy, brown sugar and tossed some caramelized shallots into the mix for depth.
The result is a sweet and tangy spread with a nice, woodsy herb flavor from that rosemary. It can be stored in your refrigerator for a good week so you’ll be ready for impromptu weekend visitors. Or if you’re a fig fiend like me, toast up some bread in the morning when the kids shove off for school and slather it on your crunchy toast. Because the only pairing better than cheese and figs (in this nutty month), is a simple, satisfying breakfast and a quiet, kid-free house.
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup shallots minced
- 1 lb fresh black figs stemmed and quartered
- 2 Tbsp light brown sugar packed
- 2 Tbsp brandy
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp fresh rosemary minced
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a small saucepan and add the shallot. Cook, stirring often, until golden brown, about 5-8 mins.
Reduce the heat to med/low and add the remaining ingredients. Continue to cook until figs are soft and jammy and begin to break down, about 10 mins.
Cool slightly and transfer to a food processor or mini prep and blend for about 30 secs, until relatively smooth.
Serve with cheese, crackers or crostini.