We usually do not go to expensive restaurants when we visit Japan. We end up in Izakayas or similar establishments. Only a few exceptions occur when we dine with our Japanese friends. Most of our hosts would take us to more formal restaurants than an Izakaya. We really liked one appetizer dish we had in such a Japanese “ryoutei” 料亭 in Niigata 新潟. It was figs dressed in sesame, vinegar dressing. After coming back, I looked up recipes and tried to make a similar dish. This is the first try.
I used nice ripe mission fig.
This was good but not exactly the same as the dish we had in Japan. The one we had in Japan, appeared to have no skin.
Ingredients (for two small servings):
2 ripe mission figs
Sugar to coat the figs.
for sesame dressing:
2 tbs white sesame seeds
2 tbs white sesame paste
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp rice vinegar
1/2 tsp sake
1/2 tsp soys sauce
1. Cut the stem of the figs, cut into quarters. Roll the skin side in sugar to coat.
2. In toaster oven, toast the figs until sugar melts and starts bubbling (see below).
3. Take them out and let them cool down.
For sesame dressing:
1. In a small dry frying pan, add the sesame seeds and roast the sesame until slightly brown and fragrant.
2. Put the roasted sesame in a Japanese suribachi すり鉢 and grind them until oil comes out and they are evenly ground.
3. Add white sesame paste(nerigoma 練り胡麻), sugar, rice vinegar, sake, and soy sauce and mix well. Adjust the consistency and taste by adding more vinegar/sake or or sauce.
4. Dress the figs and serve.
This is not bad but the skin on the figs did not particularly go well. It was a little tough and distracting from the over all texture of the dish. I will try a different version.