The Sun Eats - Kristin Jorgensen


Five local chefs who give a fig

Nick, from Harvest Moon Café, is a true believer in the wonderment of fresh figs; a true believer in all things fresh and beautiful, it seems.  His crew gets almost all of its produce locally this time of year, but especially figs.  They’re coming from Sophie’s Farm and they are used in so many scrumptious, simple ways.

Nick’s favorite way with figs is to pair them with salty Prosciutto, mint, créme fraîche, black pepper, and extra virgin olive oil.  Another favorite is a salad of fresh figs with Balsamic-roasted radicchio, Burrata, almonds, mint, and white truffle oil.  The menu at Harvest Moon changes everyday, you know, but no matter the menu, Nick has a way with taking the best of a local ingredient, at its height of ripeness, and to not mess with it too much, and make it amazing.  He loves figs with any creamy cheese or créme fraîche, and of course, they work really well with some kind of cured pork.  You could quickly roast the figs, he says, if you have less than perfectly ripe figs, or would like to add a bit of interest and fall warmth to a simple fig dish.

The super talented chefs at Glen Ellen Star have access to their own fig tree, so they tend to go crazy with the figs this time of year.  At the Star, look for fresh figs on their crazy-good white pizza with guanciale and arugula, or you might see a balsamic-fig jam accompanying the Liberty Farms duck breast with late summer creamy corn.  The team here even uses the fresh fig leaves to encase the chickens when they salt-bake them.

At Café la Haye, you’ll find beautiful, fresh, white figs hand-picked by Saul himself, paired with decadent, creamy Burrata cheese, a Banyuls vinaigrette, and upland cress.

I honestly, cannot get enough of the ‘farmer’s toast,’ bedecked with an embarrassing amount of Bellwether Farms über luxe ricotta, at the Fremont Diner.  The toppings for this dish are always changing, but right now, the crisp, buttery, Pullman toast is then adorned with beautiful, sliced green figs, walnuts, and torn mint.  While still warm, and emitting the most magical aroma, the toast is drizzled with a sticky mess of sweet honey.  I dream of this breakfast. A sweet, figgy dream.

In all of Wine Country, in all of California I dare to declare, there is no more famous fig dish than the signature Fig and Arugula Salad at the girl and the fig.  Tiny, baby arugula is tossed with quarters of fresh fig – this time of year – toasted pecans, goat cheese, crispy house-made pancetta, and a fig-filled port vinaigrette.  A dish, a restaurant, as sweet as its name.

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