Balsamic-Fig Compote

It seems I claim that just about everything on this site is “fast and easy.” But, yeah, it kinda is.

Since I spent my professional life working with limited hours in a rented kitchen or with unlimited hours at god-awful times of the night (holla to the bakers who work while you sleep!) and had only four hands to do the work, easy was a must.

You don’t make a profit in a small food business unless you are seriously efficient. We turned out great food, but we didn’t make anything that took 3 hours to prep. I started out with overly ambitious menus but I’d have been broke within a year if I’d kept it up.

Over time, my area of expertise necessarily became healthy food that doesn’t take too long to make. A skill I’m especially glad to have now, since I am being kept up at all hours of the night by Little Miss Flashdance, the tiny lady residing in my pregnant belly who just loves to schedule her auditions for 3 am. Later, she’ll want to eat at 3 am. Later still, she’ll be on the phone with boys at 3 am.

So I’ll continue with the fast and easy, yes?

You already know how to cook perfect pork tenderloin, which is indeed fast and easy. Now serve that succulent strip of piggy with a luscious fig compote. This is a sweet sauce, for sure, but it’s sweet in a grownup kind of way—sweet with balsamic vinegar, honey, and the concentrated figgy-ness of the dried fruit, stewed until plump and thickly glazed with a syrupy reduction.

And yeah, it’s fast and easy.

Balsamic Fig Compote
Sweet, tangy, and succulent figs are great paired with roasted pork tenderloin. The initial prep takes very little time but the figs will have to simmer (unattended) for 20-30 minutes, so start these first before you prep the rest of the meal. 

6 Servings

1 tsp. olive oil
1/4 cup shallots, minced
1 (7-oz) bag dried figs
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 Tbs. honey
1/2 cup water
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. fresh thyme, minced

Prep figs: Remove the tough stems and cut in half lengthwise.

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and cook until soft, stirring often to prevent burning with so little oil.

Add figs, balsamic vinegar, honey, and water. Season with salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 20-30 minutes or until figs are plump and tender. If you lose a lot of water to evaporation and your figs aren’t tender, add more water, cover, and simmer longer.

Remove cover, raise heat to medium, and cook until the liquid reduces to a thick, syrupy consistency.

Add fresh thyme. Adjust salt and pepper as needed.

Note: If reheating leftover figs, you may need to add a bit of water to loosen the reduction.


One response to “Balsamic-Fig Compote

  1. I love figs, so when I get my hands on some I’m going to give this recipe a try.