Figs, the sweet, plump, purple fruit said to be Cleopatra’s favorite, was once believed to be aphrodisiacal in ancient Greece and in China. The Greeks associated its soft pear shape with fertility and physical love, and no self-respecting orgy would do without a fig-filled bowl present. The Chinese gave their sweetheart the seed filled fruit to ease inhibition and introduce thoughts of lovemaking. Even in modern times there is no denying that an open fig emulates a woman’s private parts, and a man eating one in front of his lover proves to be a strong erotic act.
Physiologically, the fig supplies the body with iron, potassium, vitamin C, E, and folate, along with a plethora of trace minerals. Men need these vitamins to keep their prostates healthy, and their bones strong throughout old age. Women require the same minerals for capable bones, healthy immune systems, and glowing skin. However, its not the figs’ health benefits that helped gain its aphrodisiac status, but the fruits resemblance to the woman’s nether regions and its plethora of seeds, which approximates fertility.
The gentle taste of fresh figs pairs well with honey, ricotta, and goat cheese. In Italy, Black Missions are served in a cool bowl of water and eaten with bare hands and cloth napkins. I like to dip them in greek yogurt and brown sugar. In this month’s aphrodisiac inspired recipe I pair figs with chicken, wine, honey, and pinch of cayenne pepper to create a dish that tantalizes all the senses and satisfies the hunger.
Chicken with Spicy Honey Fig Sauce
- 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1/8 tsp. white pepper (optional)
- 2 chicken breasts
- 8 fresh or dried black mission figs, sliced in half
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 2 tsp. honey
- 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
Heat 1 tbsp. of olive oil in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the salt and black pepper on both sides of the chicken breasts.
Add the chicken to the pan, at least 4 inches apart from each other. Saute the chicken breasts for 4-5 minutes on each side, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Set the chicken on a plate to rest while you prepare the fig sauce.
In the same saute pan, heat the remaining oil over medium heat. Place the figs in the pan, cut side down. Saute for 4 minutes or until the figs turn slightly golden brown.
Add the red wine, a pinch of salt and pepper, the white pepper, and cayenne to the pan. Turn the heat to high and scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan so that it mixes into the sauce. Cook the liquid for 2-3 minutes until the red wine reduces to a syrup consistency.
Spoon the figs and sauce over the chicken and serve immediately.