Friday, December 05, 2008
POTATOES AND FIGS
SJG and I love roasting as a culinary method. It's easy to do and brings out the sweet, complex flavor of so many foods. So when I saw a recipe recently in the November 18, 2008, New York Times food section for roasted fingerling potatoes, figs, and garlic (photo above by Francesco Tonelli for the New York Times), I decided to give it a whirl.
Everyone to whom I've mentioned this recipe says, "Oooh, that sounds awful," but I'm here to tell you that SJG--who had the same negative reaction--was fighting with me for the leftovers afterwards! Below is the recipe, adapted, as usual, for my tastes and methods.
ROASTED POTATOES, FIGS, & GARLIC
1/2 to 3/4 pounds dried black mission figs (available at most coops)
1-1/2 to 2 cups brewed black tea (I used Twining's English Breakfast, but plain old Lipton black tea is fine too)
2 to 3 pounds small potatoes, sliced in half (you can use Yukon golds, fingerlings,
or banana potatoes, a fingerling-style potato we discovered recently at our local coop)
2-3 heads fresh garlic, separated into individual cloves with the paper still on each one (choose big heads with big cloves)
10 sprigs thyme (I used dried sprigs from a pot I have in our kitchen)
1/3 cup olive oil (enough to lightly coat everything)
salt and pepper, to taste
1. In a large bowl, soak figs in tea overnight. (Don't skip this step since it allows the dried fruit to withstand high heat during the roasting process.)
2. When ready to prepare the dish, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
3. While the oven is heating, wash the potatoes and slice them in half the long way (to provide the biggest, broadest surface of flesh).
4. In a large bowl, combine the garlic cloves, thyme, drained figs, sliced potatoes, and olive oil.
5. Place on a large roasting sheet (a heavy duty cookie sheet is fine) and sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste. Roast for about 30-40 minutes, tossing the potatoes with a spatula at about 15 or 20 minutes to ensure even baking. The potatoes are done when they have a nice golden brown color and you can easily pierce the flesh with a fork.
6. Serves 2-4 people. (Note that diners are meant to remove the paper of each garlic clove as part of the meal and eat the sweet roasted garlic meat with a bite of potato and fig. My photo below. Delicious!)