|In some pools, you swim up to the bar. In my pool, you swim up to the fig tree.|
The Musing: Seared ahi or some other sea creature – a delicacy on so many menus. Do you know that according to scientists there will be no fish left in the sea in 50 years if we keep eating them at this rate? True — and truly frightening. Hard to enjoy that tuna after reading this, huh? Luckily, there’s a bounty of other things — of plant origin — that can be seared to delicious heights.
The Recipe: When we moved to our house about 6 years ago, I was delighted to find two very prolific fig trees. Every fall, I am joyously confronted with the quandary of what to do with the profusion of the luscious fruit. The last two summers have been unseasonably cool here in Northern California, so the harvest has been late and not quite as bountiful. But there are still enough figs on the trees to occupy a few weekends making jam, glazes and sauces. Of course, I eat and use them on a daily basis, in everything from smoothies, salads, desserts and simply enjoying them off the tree. Last night, I turned them into a savory sauce for tempeh. I first simmered the tempeh in a seasoned broth, then seared them in oil so they became crispy on the outside but juicy and tender on the inside. The sauce, a beautiful balance of the sweetness of figs, the mild acidity of balsamic vinegar tempered by some vegetarian chicken stock and infused with a hint of fresh rosemary, cooked while the tempeh simmered, and it all came together at the same time.
I love tempeh, but find that for many, it is an acquired taste. Simmering it in a seasoned broth minimizes the “funky” flavor some object to, and makes it more palatable. Topped with the fig rosemary sauce, this is an unbeatable combination. I served it over a bed of quinoa with a side of braised Brussel sprouts.
1 – 2 tablespoons oil or water for sauteeing