I am part of a group of like minded foodies who interact on a daily basis about all things Food. Recently we decided to challenge ourselves by working on a common ingredient and presenting different dishes with it. With Valentine fast approaching, we agreed on an ingredient that is considered an aphrodisiac too. FIGS.
Figs, whose leaves became clothing in the biblical story of Adam and Eve are the ultimate paradox in sensual food; their many seeds represent fertility while their leaves are associated with modesty. Curvy temptress Cleopatra loved figs and when she decided to take her own life they were a part of her last luxurious meal. Also she had the cobra that she used to poison herself sent to her hidden in a basket of figs. The erotically shaped fig has been associated with sexuality in almost every culture. In Ancient Greece, where they were believed to be a symbol of love, the arrival of a new fig crop elicited a copulatory ritual. Figs have been believed to increase fertility since ancient times, and now we have scientific evidence. Figs contain a lot of iron and are filled with antioxidants, flavonoids, fiber and potassium, which are important for healthy eggs and ovulation.
A romantic meal that presents as a wonderful gourmet dish, perfect for date night. Here I have used dried figs in the sauce and served the chicken on a bed of wilted garlic spinach, smoked portobellos and mashed potatoes.
3/4 cup chopped dried figs
1 cup cognac
1 chopped onion
1 cup chicken stock
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs thyme
4 chopped garlic
3 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp maida
Pinch of salt
6 pcs chicken
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
1 tsp paprika powder
1) soak the figs in cognac overnight. Add the bay leaf and cinnamon.
2) marinate the chicken for 2 hrs in all ingredients mentioned under chicken.
3) Add oil in the pan and when its hot add the chicken. Sear on high on both sides for a couple of minutes till you get a good colour. Lower gas and cover and cook till chicken is nearly ready. Remove the pieces and keep aside
4) in the same pan, with the leftover oil, add the onions and garlic and sauté them
5) when pink, add the maida and mix well. Add the stock. bring to a boil and simmer for 3-4 mins.
6) add the soaked figs and 2 tbsp of the cognac and cook till it become tender. If the sauce is drying out add little more stock/water
7) add the salt, balsamic vinegar and thyme. Cook for a minute. Shut gas and let it cool
8) Strain the sauce and keep aside
9) at the time of serving, add some leftover cognac to the same pan in which the sauce was cooked. Deglazed it and then add the chicken and few tbsp of the fig sauce. Gave it a good mix and shut the gas when the chicken is well coated in the sauce.
WILTED GARLIC SPINACH
1 bunch cut spinach
5 sliced garlic
1) heat oil/butter in a pan, add the garlic and let it become lightly golden.
2) add the spinach and cook till wilted and the rawness goes out. Dry out excess water
3) Season with salt and pepper
5 boiled potatoes
1-2 tbsp melted butter
2 tbsp hot milk
1) Mash the potatoes and pass it through a sieve to remove lumps
2) mix everything else and season well
10 portobello mushrooms
2 tbsp spiced garlic butter (readymade or butter mixed with minced garlic, hebs and chilli flakes)
3 cheese cubes
1) Rub olive oil on the mushrooms. stick a fork and char over the gas till emits aroma
2) remove the stalks and stuff the caps with spiced garlic butter
3) microwave for 7 mins at 600
4) top with a piece of cheese and microwave again for 1 minute or till cheese melts.