If there is one thing besides wineries that California’s Wine Country is known for, it’s fantastic restaurants. The Girl & the Fig in Sonoma is among the best and has been a top foodie destination for the last 25 years. When Sondra Bernstein opened the doors in 1997, she wanted to showcase the abundance of the region along with her passion for French cuisine. It’s no surprise that Sondra along with head Chef John Tolouze are crazy about figs, which are featured prominently throughout their seasonal menus. When fresh figs are available, people come in droves for their Grilled Fig Salad and their Warm Fig + Thyme Crisp with Fig Syrup. The rest of the year they rely on dried figs, which have an earthy and sweet concentrated flavor, in fig compotes, sauces and relishes. In our version of their Fig and Olive Relish, we've updated the recipe to include fresh rosemary and orange zest. This relish is fragrant and reminiscent of the holidays. We suggest serving it on a cheeseboard, spooned over a log of goat cheese or a wheel of brie or as a topping for grilled pork chops. Pair with a light red such as California Pinot Noir or California Grenache.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon minced shallot
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
- 1 cup dried figs, stemmed and quartered (140g)
- ¼ cup sugar (70g)
- ½ cup fig balsamic vinegar, or regular balsamic vinegar (130mls)
- 2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
- 1 tablespoon fresh orange zest, grated
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated pepper
- ½ cup chopped, pitted green and black California olives
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Yield: 1 ½ cups
Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and rosemary and cook until fragrant and shallots are translucent, 1-2 minutes.
Add the dried figs, sugar, balsamic vinegar, mustard, orange zest, and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer until the figs have softened and the mixture becomes jammy, about 8-10 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in the olives. Pour mixture into a glass container and cool. The relish will keep for two weeks in the refrigerator.
Styling notes: This relish is thick, dark and glossy so it will look best on something light so it pops…it would work on a cheeseboard or over a log of goat cheese. Or smear some goat cheese (or other soft cheese) on a slice of bruschetta and spoon on that. I would garnish with fresh rosemary and thin strips of orange zest.