There is a saying that you can never go wrong with a fig, and that is definitely true. But the Fiddle Leaf is an unusual fig, and if you’re unfamiliar with it, then this book will become very familiar very quickly. The book is from a collection of various books written by the author, Ian Cumming.
If you enjoy figs, especially figs of a savory variety, then you’ll be thrilled to hear about this book. Its title, The Fiddle Leaf Fig Expert, is a pretty fitting statement. Its recipes are mouthwatering. It’s a compendium of beautiful recipes covering figs of all kinds, with recipes for tart figs, chunky figs, pomegranate figs, light mint figs, thick dried figs, soft dried figs, dried figs for pudding, crumbled and dried figs for cocktails, and so much more.
The Fiddle Leaf is a fig tree in the Wampanoag Indian tribe. It is believed that the tree’s presence is linked to nature and the spirit world. Some myths describe the fig tree as a part of the Devil’s lettuce roots, or that it took more care than other trees in growing a tree’s leaves, and that it was known for its quality fruit that are inedible and that break off before ready to eat. But the fig tree’s descendants have been well-used and have spread across the country.
This book is divided into 11 chapters. “Adding and Favoriteing the Fiddle Leaf” includes the most traditional recipes for figs, including figs stuffed with fig preserves, figs stuffed with chicken or turkey and baked, figs stuffed with almonds and honey, figs stuffed with chevre, and figs stuffed with lardons, to name a few. “All About Fig” includes recipes for figs on toast, fig jams, and fig jam and cream.
“Let It Sparkle” is the chapter that is absolutely loaded with fig recipes. It includes recipes for fig juice, fig checco sauce, fig tartlets, fig pies, and fig clusters, and there are many suggestions for wonderful fig recipes for cocktail and dessert plates. “Expert Treasures” includes advice and tips from people who are experts about figs, such as fig-spicing recipes, fig baking, fig preserves, fig preserves for pasta, fig-wafer cookies, fig confit, fig-caper sauce, and dried fig cookies and chantilly cream.
“More Than Rugged Recipes” includes figs that were scored in game competitions, fig cuisines from India, Turkey, Israel, and Serbia, figs eaten by Orson Welles and Henry Miller, and figs around the world. This chapter also has some pieces of research that were done for the book, including research on figs from the Iranian game reserve, the Untawaandht in Spain, the German method of scattering figs in autumn, and the figs in Catherine the Great’s fable (a common tale of hunters-gatherers that was first told in the 1300s).
If you have ever loved to cook, then you will find all of these recipes to be easy and tasty. But the best thing about this book is the name.
Author Ian Cumming’s words shine in the captions, with the pictures offering so much room for you to look through the text and read along. Cumming is the great equalizer, in more ways than one. The recipes also make a great compilation of other recipes, especially for other fruits, to make your cooking easy and quick. If you’re an enthusiastic cook, then this book is definitely worth the purchase, and of course, the recipes will come in handy after you’ve enjoyed the book.
Get this book and use the Fig Expert’s recipes to dress up your kitchen, your fruits, and your dessert tables. After all, you can never go wrong with figs.
Fiddle Leaf Fig Expert Book by Ian Cumming
Boomers & Butterflies, 128 pages, illustrated with 12 recipes
Sterling Epicure, 2018, $34.95