Monday, September 17, 2012

Fig Balsamic Jam

Secret Recipe Club has arrived for September.  A big smile spread across my face when I received my blog assignment for this month.  Authentic Suburban Gourmet is one of my favorite blogs to visit and has been a long standing regular in my Google Reader.  Lisa is the gourmande behind this inspiring blog and hails from the San Fransisco area.  Her recipes are bursting with fresh and simple ingredients.  They are elegant and gourmet, yet really approachable.    Authentic Suburban is one of those blogs you read and you immediately want to invite yourself over to Lisa's house to sample the gorgeous food that grace her posts.  I don't know Lisa personally, but I guarantee you she throws a kick butt dinner party. 

I'm pretty familiar with Lisa's blog, so I knew I would have a hard time choosing a recipe.  There are worse problems to have, right?  Her appetizers are always making me drool.  She does a crostini up like no one's business.  But ultimately I was drawn to her recipe for fig balsamic jam.  Lisa has a number of recipes that incorporate the jam, including a crostini.  Lucky for me I have 2 half pint jars to use up and I will be making her fig jam straws next.

I think you all know I'm a big fan of making jam and preserves.  It is up at the top of my list of favorite things to make. There is something completely satisfying about taking a pile of fresh seasonal fruit, combining it with a little a sugar and citrus and next thing you know you have jars of your fresh made fruit preserves lined up on your kitchen counter. And you if make a big enough batch, the process of canning and preserving isn't as hard as you might think.   Lisa also has a love for making her own jams and chutneys...including making up to 40 jars at once!  How do I get on Lisa's jam gift list???

The funny thing about being drawn to Lisa's fig jam recipe is I've never worked with or eaten figs.  I really don't count the one time I tasted a fig newton as a kid.  I immediately decided they weren't for me.  But now that I'm grown up, I've been wanting to give real figs a try.  I found a flat of beautiful mission figs at Costco and off I went. 

The jam was easy to make and I loved the result.  Figs on their own are fairly mild in flavor.  The balsamic vinegar really punches it up.  The end product was reminiscent of a lush raisin like flavor.  To make the crostini, Hubby and I visited the farmer's market this weekend and picked up a fresh baked baguette and locally made basil goat cheese.  The flavors went perfectly with the sweet and tangy jam.   After the fact, I thought adding a bit of crisp pancetta or bacon would be pretty outstanding.  Because everything is better with bacon.  Next time!

This jam is very versatile and I'm looking forward to more adventures with both fresh figs and this awesome jam.


Fig Balsamic Jam
from Authentic Suburban Gourmet

1 pound of figs, stems removed and coarsely chopped
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Fresh lemon juice (about a Tablespoon)

Combine figs, sugar and balsamic vinegar in a medium heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium high heat.  Bring to a simmer and reduce to medium low, maintaining a gentle simmer.  Continuing simmering until jam thickens (this took me about 15-20 minutes).  Stir in a tablespoon of lemon juice and taste the jam (be sure to cool your taste first).  Add more lemon juice if desired.  You can leave your jam chunky or use an immersion blender (stick blender) to puree until desired texture is achieved.  I prefer a smoother consistency so I pureed the jam.  

Store in a sealed container or jar in the refrigerator for up to a month.  Or use a canning method to process the jam.  This recipe yielded exactly 2 one half pint jars of jam.  However I did not process them as I plan to eat them asap.