Sunday, August 10, 2014

Balsamic Fig Jam

Those of us who think Life Should Be Beautiful know all about summer produce. Here in north Texas, I can't get enough of the tomatoes, cucumbers, yellow squash, and peaches that are on offer at local farmers markets.  But rather than fall into the proverbial rut, I am pleased to say that I have expanded my horizons with a new favorite: figs.

I first discovered them at the upscale grocery store, but as our locavore offerings have broadened I have more often been able to find them at the market.  They are delicious eaten out-of-hand, grilled alongside chicken, or sauteed and drizzled with honey and dolloped with mascarpone cheese.

Here's a recipe I tried this afternoon with some gorgeous figs in our produce share.  Its jammy goodness is going to be great with crackers and blue cheese.  I am also thinking a grilled panini of prosciutto and fontina with a bit of the jam spread on sourdough.

You could easily multiply this recipe and then can in a hot water bath, but I settled for a single batch this time.  It should last me just about two weeks and then it will be time for more figs.

Balsamic Fig Jam
Makes about 1 1/2 cup

8-10 ounces figs, stems removed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Over medium-high heat, combine the figs, sugar, balsamic vinegar and water in a 12-inch saute pan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and add lemon juice, rosemary, salt and pepper.  Simmer, stirring occasionally until thickened, 25-35 minutes.  You'll know its done when you drag a wooden spoon across the bottom of the pan and it leaves a trail without the liquid coming back in to cover.  Watch it carefully for the last 10 minutes or so.  It can go from wonderful jam to burned sugar quickly if you're not careful.

Let cool slightly and place in food processor.  Pulse 3-5 times; you want a slightly chunky consistency.  Transfer jam to glass jar or container and let cool to room temperature.  Cover and refrigerate for up to one month,

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