Back in the day when children ate as they were told (“What, you don’t like prunes?! Here’s two more and I’d better see a smile on your face!”), my grandmother had a fig tree. She loved figs! I would dread those days when we were visiting and there were ripe figs on the tree. She was so pleased to share a big bowl with the children.
I could not bear the red maw and tiny seeds of that alien fruit! I even thought that Fig Newton cookies were a cruel and vicious joke played on innocent, unsuspecting children by sick, sick people.
But, you ate as you were told if you wanted to live long enough until you could get out, get a job, buy and cook your own food. Today as an adult with children, that seems fair to me. Anyway, most things you hated as a child you end up liking as an adult. Like figs. If not, you’re old enough to kill the taste with alcohol.
I found these attractive babies at the Fresh Paradise market http://www.frischeparadies.de/frischeparadies-maerkte/stuttgart.html. Saturday mornings are unbelievably jammed with restaurants picking up supplies for the weekend. Like the farmer’s market, you need to get there early before all the best, pretty things are gone. People are so selfish :D
I didn’t have any port for the fig sauce but I did have an Amontillado sherry. I always liked that Poe story and Amontillado sounded so chic! Anyway.
Magret de Canard aux Figues
2 duck breasts, fat scored
1 packet vanilla sugar
8 figs, quartered
1 cup Amontillado sherry
4 sprigs fresh thyme
Sprinkle the duck breasts with the sugar and some vinegar and set aside for an hour. Pour the sherry over the figs and thyme, then soak for 30 minutes.
Sear the duck breasts in a hot skillet, fat side down for 6 minutes, turn and continue cooking for another 6 minutes. Remove the breasts from the pan and allow to rest on a cutting board. Pour the fat from the pan.
Strain the sherry from the figs and add to the de-fatted skillet, bring to a boil and cook until liquid is reduced by half. Add the figs and cook for 3-5 minutes.
Slice the breasts and serve with the figs.
Wine suggestion: Cabernet Sauvignon