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Monday, March 9, 2015

HIGO WITH 15TH CENTURY FRENCH RECIPE FOR FIGS

When You Care a Fig
Photo by: Lord-Williams

OCast figo, L. Ficus carica, Ar. tīn, teen Fr. figuer, Eng fig. Galen dubbed the fig and grapes as the lords of all fruits. As Romans imported the fig to Rome from Spain, it appears impossible the contention that during the reign of Abd ar-Rahman II, Fourth Ummayad Emir of Cordova, 822-852 the fig was introduced to Spain from Constantinople. Of all the fruits produced in Al-Andulus, figs were the most common. They became so famous that they were exported from Al-Andalus to the Orient. Perhaps the Emir exploited them and for good reason as the fig always has been a highly desired fruit in the Arab world which came to be synonymous with divination, love and fertility. Even today, it is contended that fig consumption increases the sperm and decreases infertility.

Boiling Figs in Wine
Photo by: Lord-Williams

In the 10th C the best figs were bought for the monarch. The 14th century Archpriest
of Hita points out that they were dessert for peasants.

Nola provides a recipe for Fig Pottage, using black and white figs mixed with mutton broth. Another recipe of his including figs consists of fermenting layers of figs with roses.

Avenzoar says their warmth and humidity mollify the stomach and have purifying properties. The best are mature for their sweetness and creamy substance; the worst. Villena instructs to remove the stem at the base from green figs. To release the juice, a piece is cut out at one end. If the skin is delicate, do not peel it. If using dried figs, he concludes, remove the stems and clean the fruit with a cloth. Avenzoar stated that dried figs were warmer then fresh figs.
The dryness and the humidity were balanced but are inclined toward dryness. They alter the stomach less and mollify it less. They produce less gases then fresh figs. Dry figs are healthy and fattening. If eaten assiduously, they calm the nerves, the heart and above all have a tranquil effect but when residues substances are left in the organs, fleas appear, he concludes.

He recommended putting fig branches in the bottom of pans and adding course meat. This tenderized the meat faster. He did recommend making meatballs once tenderized.

[Anón/Brey1965:1295b:249; ES: Gutiérrez. Jun 1, 98; Castro. Alimentación. 1996:305; Gázquez. Cocina. 2002:246; Nola. 1989:xxx-6:xxxvi-2; and xliii.1; Sánchez-Albornoz. 2000:42-43; Ibn Zuhr/García Sánchez. 1992:71:92; and Villena/Calero. 2002:23a:42b:43b]

EATING FIGS THE FRENCH WAY ADAPTED FROM NOLA’S
xxxvi-2 COMER HIGOS[1] A LA FRANCESA

Figs to Reallly Care For
Photo by: Lord-Williams
Ingredients

1 k black and white dried figs
1 l. white wine
2 tsp cinnamon
1 ½ tsp ginger
1 tsp anise

Preparation

Wash figs. Put them in a pot with wine. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Gently boil until stewed and the wine is absorbed. Sprinkle half the spice spices on top and mix. Put the figs in a serving and sprinkle the remaining spices on top.

The recipe instructs to serve this at the beginning of the meal. This is possible or it could be good as an accompaniment to pork.

[1] See blog titled arullar published November 25, 2011 for Nola’s recipe for figs with rose pedals.


LIBRO DE COCINA DE RUPERTO NOLA
Para los enfermos
AÑO MDXXV

COMER HIGOS A LA FRANCESA
TRANSLATED INTO CASTILLEAN FROM CATALAN
BY DIONISIO PERÉZ
Tomar higos pasados los más melados que pudieres haber negros y blancos; y quitarles el pezón y lavarlos con buen vino blanco que sea dulce; y desque estén muy bien limpios, toma una cazuela que sea un tanto grande y de tierra, que tenga el suelo llano, y échalos dentro meneándolos un poco y después pon esta cazuela sobre las brasas; y bien atapada de manera que se estufe allí, y cuando estén estofados, y se habrá embebido en ellas toda la humidad del vino, menearlas un poco; y échales salsafina encima; y tórnalas a menear de manera que se incorpore en ellas aquella salsa y después comer este manjar, y es gentil cosa, y quiérese comer al principio de mesa. 


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