Late Summer in the Kitchen: Figs & Peppers

As much as we might be sorry for summer being gone, this is a good time of year: it’s a rewarding combination of abundant produce and moderate temperatures. Truth be told, with all the raging heat waves this summer (four? five? I lost count.) I didn’t get to cook much. Too hot is simply too hot.

A plate of trimmed and cut figs ready to adorn the galette
Figs getting ready for their perfomance in fig galette

When the heat persists it’s best to resort to ice cream or slush, cold drink and dreamy shade. And spare your energy. I think the past season was the one I ate the largest quantities of ice cream ever. Ice cream lunch? Check. Ice cream dinner? Check.

Delicious sage ice cream as served in Restaurant Badi in Lovrečica
Delicious sage ice cream as served in Restaurant Badi in Lovrečica

In September there’s a lot of gorgeous fruits and vegetables on hand: sweetest figs, perfumey peaches, plump plums, meaty aubergines, reddest peppers, ripe tomatoes, to list only my favourites. If, like me, you’d like to extend the summer you can easily do so in the kitchen.

Fig galette in the making: I roll the dough out on the baking paper to avoid transfer disaster
Fig galette in the making: I roll the dough out on the baking paper to avoid transfer disaster

I’m adding links to three recipes that reproduce summer to perfection. You don’t have to be an expert cook (I’m not), just follow suit (others have already tested everything), it’s all very easy, and keep the feeling of summer going for a bit longer.

  1.  Fig Jam by Anna Jones

This was my first attempt at jam: it’s the simplest possible recipe, very easy to follow, no mess. Result: the most wonderful fig jam around. You’ll be impressed. So will the ones you’ll allow to eat it. One piece of advice: hide a jar somewhere safe so it’s not eaten too soon, you’ll thank me around Christmas.

Although Anna Jones’ recipe is perfect I added cardamom pods (six of them) instead of vanilla. I’m also told you can use a drop of orange blossom essential oil instead of the spoons of orange blossom water but I do have the water in my fridge. A really friendly part of this recipe is it uses a small quantity of added sugar. Very modern.

Fig galettes before going into hot oven
Fig galettes before going into hot oven (those wormy things are butter taken with a zester)
  1. Fruit Galette as seen at delicious:days

I made this galette many times before with different fruits: apricots & cherries, plums & peaches, poached quince. It’s a winner of a recipe. This time I used fresh figs (the ones I plucked off the tree by myself) and substituted regular with whole-wheat flour. I use Demerara sugar in my bakes. I also added mahleb to the dough but don’t worry if you don’t have it. Also, this time I didn’t have sour cream or creme fraiche at home, so I added buttermilk instead. I guess you could easily use yoghurt as well.

Wonderful fig galette, first time with whole wheat flour with delicious result
Wonderful fig galette, first time with whole wheat flour with delicious result

I served the galette with above mentioned fig jam as a side because I 0bviously lacked the sweetened creme fraiche (sour cream) recommended in the recipe. (Usually I would make it because it really does make a difference!) The galette turned out wonderfully. Perfect for breakfast.

  1. Roasted Peppers as directed by The Wednesdaychef

Roasted peppers are my weakness: I love them. Ever since I read Luisa Weiss’ blog post (link above) on roasting peppers I’ve always followed her instructions because they make perfect sense: you want roasted peppers to be properly roasted. So, I let the peppers roast for an hour (I roast the long red, meaty variety, preferably the ones called Elephant’s Ears but any variety will actually do as long as they’re red and long and meaty), only I increase the oven temperature to 190°C. They’re perfect.

A bowl of roasted peppers after seeding and skinning
Roasted peppers after seeding and skinning (I absolutely don’t mind some remaining seds)

After they’ve been roasted one can have them any way one please. I usually only add salt, pepper, a generous glug of olive oil and maybe some chopped parsley but you can let your imagination go wild. Normally, I just can’t wait and want to start eating them straight away. (Apparently, garlic is a good companion but I wouldn’t know, I dislike raw garlic.) You can also use roasted peppers in sandwiches, sauces, condiments, or any other cooked dish (say, added to pasta, couscous, bulgur …). As I said, go wild if you want while I quietly sit in my corner with a plate of my modest version.

Related:

Another recipe with figs I wrote about last summer in this post: https://mrssage.com/peljesac-southern-dalmatia-croatia/

Another recipe with peppers I wrote about last autumn in this post: https://mrssage.com/just-another-autumn/