Bounty of Figs

We are currently housesitting near Barjac in the department of Gard. This location has a climate very similar to SoCal or Patzcuaro in central México in that it is very arid but quite warm and windy. The property we are at has a large black fig tree that is just oozing with ripe figs right now. Since we never like to have anything go to waste, we have been preparing meals upon meals using the figs. We have had everything from fig ice cream, to chocolate fig tarts, to fig Bruschetta and finally to our new favorite, a Fig Tart With Caramelized Onions, Rosemary and Roquefort.

If you can get your hands on some ripe figs this is a recipe that will quickly become a favorite as it is quite easy to prepare and very flavorful.

Fig Tart With Caramelized Onions, Rosemary and Roquefort

In a large skillet over low heat, melt butter with oil. Add onions, rosemary and sugar. Cook, tossing occasionally, until onions are limp and golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Stir in the vinegar, scraping any browned bits from bottom of pan.

Fig Tart With Caramelized Onions, Rosemary and Roquefort

Jo Ann placing the figs on the tarte before putting it in the oven.

Fig Tart With Caramelized Onions, Rosemary and Roquefort

Prepared and ready to cook.

Fig Tart With Caramelized Onions, Rosemary and Roquefort

Fresh out of the oven and ready to serve. It was so yummy.

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Salade de Chevre Chaud Marine

 

Last night we prepared a Salade de Chevre Chaud Marine, also known as Warm Salad of Grilled Marinated Goat’s Cheese. This is a recipe from “Le Cordon Bleu Classic French Cookbook, the Centenary Collection” and interesting cookbook of traditional French cuisine.

The salad was wonderful, visually as well as having an excellent flavor. If you would like a copy of the recipe you can find it in our recipe database at Searching4Zen.com.

Salade de Chevre Chaud Marine

Salade de Chevre Chaud Marine

The frisée and radicchio torn and tossed with all the wonderful herbs.

Salade de Chevre Chaud Marine

The cheese is ready to bake under the broiler.

Salade de Chevre Chaud Marine

Salade de Chevre Chaud Marine, plated and ready to serve.

Latteria Sociale Cooperativa

Based on a recommendation from the owner of the restaurant La Quercia di Rosa we searched out this local cooperativa that produces some of the best DOP Parmigiano-Reggiano. It was a cold and dreary morning as we walked into the store front at 8:45a when the first tour starts.

We had read that the production of the Parmigiano-Reggiano starts at 8:30 so if you want to follow the production of that mornings cheese you need to get there early. Being it was off season we were the only people on the tour that morning, which allowed us to ask lots of questions about how and why they produce the Parmigiano-Reggiano.

The staff at latter Sociale Cooperativa were super friendly and helpful, including the workers in the factory who I am sure we got into the way of. The tour is without cost but clearly we left with a large stash of Parmigiano-Reggiano that we are still enjoying now that we are back home!

Latteria Sociale Cooperativa

The tables where the milk is received twice a day, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. Parmigiano-Reggiano is only produced in the mornings.

Latteria Sociale Cooperativa

Once the steam is turned on for more than three of the vats it becomes so foggy I could not keep my lens from foggying up.

Latteria Sociale Cooperativa

The whey and the milk solids are starting to separate.

Latteria Sociale Cooperativa

Latteria Sociale Cooperativa

Ready to cut the curds.

Latteria Sociale Cooperativa

Cutting the curds into small rice sized pieces.

Latteria Sociale Cooperativa

Perfectly sized curds.

Latteria Sociale Cooperativa

The mild solid is ready to be pulled together.

Latteria Sociale Cooperativa

Forming the Parmigiano-Reggiano from the milk solids.

Latteria Sociale Cooperativa

One ball of Parmigiano-Reggiano

Latteria Sociale Cooperativa

Forming the Parmigiano-Reggiano before it is placed in the empty form.

Latteria Sociale Cooperativa

Forming the Parmigiano-Reggiano before it is placed in the empty form.

Latteria Sociale Cooperativa

Forming the Parmigiano-Reggiano before it is placed in the empty form.

Latteria Sociale Cooperativa

Forming the Parmigiano-Reggiano before it is placed in the empty form.

Latteria Sociale Cooperativa

Forming the Parmigiano-Reggiano before it is placed in the empty form.

Latteria Sociale Cooperativa

Each ball of Parmigiano-Reggiano is cut into two and individually placed into the empty form. I have no idea what the weight of each ball was.

Latteria Sociale Cooperativa

The rounds are then stored for several days in a salt brine which helps removed some of the excess liquids and gives the Parmigiano-Reggiano its great taste.

Latteria Sociale Cooperativa

The rounds are then stored for several days in a salt brine which helps removed some of the excess liquids and gives the Parmigiano-Reggiano its great taste.

Latteria Sociale Cooperativa

After each rounds is formed it is given a bar code identifying the producer, the date of production and other information as required by the DOP requirements.

Latteria Sociale Cooperativa

Removing the remaining solids that will be used to create ricotta cheese.

Latteria Sociale Cooperativa

I have never seen so much Parmigiano-Reggiano in one location in my life.

Latteria Sociale Cooperativa

This round of Parmigiano-Reggiano was produced on January 16, 2017 and was already in the inventory holding area.

Latteria Sociale Cooperativa

Our guide showing us how they test to ensure the cheese is without significant air pockets.

Latteria Sociale Cooperativa

One of the few automated processes, this machine rinses the rind of the cheese and rotates the round before putting it back in place.

Map of Parmigiano-Reggiano

The map of the official Parmigiano-Reggiano area.

Latteria Sociale Cooperativa