Saturday, August 29, 2009

You Don't Give a Fig for a Fig?

So, you say you don’t give a fig for a fig. Think again. Especially when a box of 27 sells for $5.99 at Iovine Brothers Produce at the Reading Terminal Market. At less than a quarter apiece, that’s a bargain price, unless you can grab them for free of a neighbor’s tree, as I can.

The variety of the Iovine’s boxes weren’t marked, but they looked like Brown Turkeys. While lacking the richness of some other fresh figs, Brown Turkeys are pleasantly sweet and make good eating, either out of hand or in cooking. They’d be great in Moshe Basson’s recipe for stuffed figs, onions and eggplant, which I first tried at his original Jerusalem retaurant, Eucalyptus. (It’s a time-consuming dish to make, what with hollowing out the three main components, cooking and mincing chicken to be stuffed into the fruits/veggies with some of their pulp, preparing the tamarind sauce and steaming everything, but if you’re game you can find the recipe in Joan Nathan’s The Foods of Israel Today.)

If you’d rather eat in América del Norte style, it’s guacamole time. Iovine’s had perfectly ripe Hass avocadoes for 89-cents apiece, limes for 20 cents each, Jersey tomatoes for 50 cents a pound. On the bell pepper survey, suntans were two pounds for a buck, Reds, yellows and oranges $1.49. Frying peppers were 79-cents, long hots 50 cents. Nice South Jersey string beans were 99-cents.

Kauffman’s Lancaster County Produce had pricey but very nice red sweet frying peppers for $2.99/pound, green bell peppers for $1.99, red for $2.99. Benuel’s kirby cukes were $2.49 a pound, raspberries $3.95 a half-pint, blackberries $4.95/pint. Fair Food;’s raspberries were $4 for a half-pint, blackberries $7.50 for a pint. In another sign of the change of seasons, white cranberries are back, $2.25/pint.

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