We asked one of our favorite Sonoma Valley restaurants, the girl and the fig on the Sonoma Square, to share a couple of their favorite recipes with us. The Fig (Sondra’s shorthand for the restaurant), is a tiny but mighty cafe featuring a wonderful antique bar with French aperitifs, unique and traditional cocktails, an award-winning Rhone-Alone winelist, a seasonal menu, cheese & charcuterie platters, and outdoor garden patio seating. Owner Sondra Bernstein graciously gave us some of the best in farm to table recipes, from her kitchen to ours.
A little history. Bernstein and Executive Chef John Toulze first opened the Fig in the charming Sonoma County town of Glen Ellen 20 years ago (happy 20th anniversary!). Now in a prime spot on the Sonoma Square, the restaurant is a beacon of good food and drink to both locals and visitors. Sondra’s girl & the fig cookbook was published in 2004, and is now in its fifth printing. Her other tome, Plats du Jour: the girl & the fig’s Journey Through the Seasons in Wine Country, is a marvelous study in truly handcrafted cooking.
Burrata, Heirloom Tomatoes & Basil
Make room on your dinner menu for a simple burrata, heirloom tomatoes & basil starter and finish off with a dessert of apple fig sorbet. We suggest a high-acid white such as sauvignon blanc, albariño, pinot grigio, or rosé as an excellent pairing.
Notes from the chef:
“Burrata was not on our radar, but soon after we began to see it on menus everywhere. Now we know why. The California burrata we serve is truly luscious, (but of course so is Italian burrata). Enriched with cream, this velvety cheese is the perfect pairing with the ripest tomatoes and artisan sea salt. Grab a crusty loaf, a handful of fresh basil leaves, and some aged balsamic vinegar and you are all set.”
8 medium assorted heirloom tomatoes, cored and sliced into 1 inch wedges
12 fresh basil leaves, torn into 1 inch pieces
3/4 pound burrata cheese, pulled into 1 inch chunks
3/4 cup high quality extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Maldon Sea Salt
Place an assortment of the heirloom tomato wedges on a serving platter.
Loosely cover the tomatoes with the burrata and the basil.
Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt right before serving.
Apple Fig Sorbet
Notes from the chef:
“Since we started making our own sorbets and ice cream, we’ve had a great time playing with different ingredients and flavor combinations to see how they work together. Sometimes the flavors are determined simple by what is ripe and ready to use. Apples and figs are both perfect at this time of year, and the combination of the tart apples and the sweet figs produces a perfect summer flavor.”
Serves 6 to 8
1 cup sugar
2 apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
(use apples with high acid like Granny Smith, Newton Pippin, or Gravenstein)
6 to 8 fresh Black Mission figs, crushed (enough to make 1 cup; stems removed)
In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and apples with 2 cups water and cook over medium heat until the apples start to lose their shape, about 10 to 12 minutes.
Add the figs and cook for 2 more minutes.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and roughly purée the mixture in a food processor, keeping the texture chunky.
Refrigerate the mixture until chilled. Add the mixture to an ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
If you visit:
Our last day trip to Sonoma turned into a weekend. With the square full of shops and tasting rooms and restaurants that share the caliber of the girl and the fig, there’s just a lot to see in one day. Plan ahead and check out these prime lodging options for a fantastic (and filling) weekend away.