So a while back I got a Food & Wine app that has a handy dandy collection of craft cocktail recipes. Sometimes when I don’t have time to cook, I get my creative fix by trying a new drink instead. This one was simple – fig & fennel infused vodka. I thought – hey! I love figs, I love fennel, I love vodka – what could possibly go wrong, right?
So basically, you take a bunch of dried black mission figs (I cut mine in half) and thinly slice a bulb of fennel and dump it in a jar with a bunch of vodka, cover and stick it in the fridge for a week. Of course we tasted it every day, just to check; but the app was right, the longer the better, and it tapered off after a week and stopped getting stronger. At which point it was delicious served very cold in small portions (too sweet to have a lot).
The thing is, after you strain out all of the fig and fennel for a beautiful purpleish brownish slightly seedy vodka, you have a gorgeous pile of vodka soaked figs and fennel that seem such a shame to toss in the compost pile (however much I enjoy watching drunk squirrels). I tasted a fig. Gross. Nope. Too bad. Disappointed in the waste, I walked away for the night.
The next morning, seeing the fig & fennel still sitting on the counter in the strainer something possessed me to eat another one. Yum! The alcohol evaporated overnight and left me with a fig/fennel ceviche! I had no idea what to do with it, so I stuck it in the freezer.
It occurred to me later that day when I should have been thinking about work, that I had put the strange ceviche in the freezer next to some leftover lasagna cheese mix. Which obviously led me to the idea that it should all become ravioli…obviously. When the weekend rolled around and I had some time, I threw it in the processor and then mixed it with the cheese, stuffed it into some pasta, boil, fry in butter, top with cream sauce and TA DAAAA! I threw some of the figs in a skillet with balsamic, onions and sugar to make a little glaze to drip on top. My long-suffering husband, who is always fearful when I involve black sauce, gave it the thumbs up. So I’m thinking, actually it would have been better if I made cheese specifically for this, rather than the mix prepared for lasagna, but the idea is fun, and the flavor combo was really interesting. I think I’ll actually spend some time fine tuning this one. Plus, that means more vodka.