We have a clump of wild fig trees that are growing neglected in the field behind our property here in Umbria and as soon as they begun to ripen, we have plowed our way through the field to collect a huge bowlful of fresh figs every other day. The figs growing on these trees are green ones, with jewel red centers that explode with tender sweetness when you bite into them.
I have already made two batches of delicious fig jam, and a number of pies and tarts using figs in combination with other fruits. With my latest bowl of figs however, I wanted to made a savory sweet relish to serve with roasted pork or chicken. Umbrians eat a LOT of pork, so we often find delicious pork roasts or nice, fat big pork chops at our local grocery stores, and as everyone knows, pork is delicious when combined with apples or figs.
I decided to use an onion, fig combination as onions when slowly caramelized also gain an earthy sweetness that I thought would go really well with the figs. Since I wanted a chunky relish I simply cut off the top and bottom of each fig and coarsely chopped them leaving the skins on.
This recipe makes about 4 cups of relish when completed, and rather than go through the process of using a water bath canning method, I simply packed mine in meal sized airtight plastic containers and stored them in my freezer. I like to use the full amount of balsamic which really gives the relish a nice tangy flavor, but if you prefer a milder taste simply use just half the vinegar.
Note: You can also add a little cinnamon and cloves to this relish which is also delicious.
A Large Bowl Of Fresh Picked Figs!
This Relish Is Delicious On Roasted Pork
- 3 Large Onions, Peeled And Chopped
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 2 Tablespoons Butter
- Salt & Pepper
- 4 Cups Chopped Figs
- 1/2 Cup Honey (I Used Chestnut Honey)
- 1 Cup Sugar
- 4 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar (Approximate)
- 1 Teaspoon Crushed Fennel Seeds
- In a heavy pot, heat the oil and butter together and then add the onions.
- Slowly cook the onions, stirring often until they are deep golden in color and very soft, about an hour.
- Add the figs, honey, sugar, and fennel and bring to a boil.
- Season with salt and pepper, then reduce the heat and cook until thick and jam like, about 30 minutes.
- Add half the vinegar and mix well.
- Taste and add the rest of the vinegar if needed.
- Cool to room temperature before using.
- Store excess in airtight containers in the freezer, or in sterilized jars using a water bath sterilization method.