Contrary to the widespread belief, fig leaves are not toxic. It is the sap of the plant that is irritating to the skin and should therefore be avoided. In fact, you’ll probably be surprised to find that fig leaves are not only edible, but delicious. Many peoples use them as papillotes for steaming, baking or grilling meat and fish. When dried, they can be used to make herbal tea. They are a great addition to rice, cooked vegetables, stews or soups as an alternative to spinach.
Everyone knows that figs are delicious: they are made into jams, pies, salads, baked with brie, etc. But you may be avoiding the other parts of the Ficus carica tree, right? As already mentioned, the poisonous reputation of fig leaves is due to the latex of the plant. It’s the milky white stuff in the stems that shows up when you cut them. It can be very irritating to the skin, even causing phytophotodermatitis, so rinse the leaves thoroughly, remove their stems and wash your hands well after touching them.
What does the leaf of Ficus carica taste like?
The flavor you get from fig leaves can be described as vanilla, with a dominant coconut flavor and a delicate hint of hazelnut. Make sure to use fresh bright green leaves that look healthy. Older ones get too fibrous and bland and don’t deliver the same flavor results.
What are the benefits of fig leaves?
Fig leaves contain vitamins A, B1 and B2 as well as potassium, sodium, manganese, calcium, iron and phosphorus. Many people claim that drinking fig leaf tea fights constipation, soothes painful period, and provides significant overall health benefits. Of course, you should always consult your doctor before introducing new products into your diet.
Fig leaves syrup recipe
This syrup is really easy to make and you can add it to your cocktails, soda water or punch as a sweetener instead of simple syrup to enhance their flavor. To prepare it, you will need:
3-4 fresh fig leaves
2 cups water
1½ cups sugar
Place the water, sugar and fig leaves in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves and boil for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat to let the mixture cool and infuse for about an hour. Remove the leaves and transfer the syrup to an airtight bottle or container. Placed in the refrigerator, the syrup will keep for up to two weeks.
Salmon fillet in fig leaves
Using the fig leaves to wrap the salmon before cooking it is another brilliant idea that is simply a must. This way of preparation gives the fish a smoky and sweetly fruity flavor that is quite irresistible. Plus, the baked leaves are the best veggie crisps in the world!
1 kg medium sized potatoes
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil plus a little more for brushing
15 fig leaves
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 kg salmon fillets, skinless
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 large garlic clove, chopped
2 peeled and sliced lemons (optional)
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
In a large saucepan, cover the potatoes with water, bring to a boil and cook over medium-high heat for about 12 minutes or until they are barely tender. Drain and leave to cool, then cut the potatoes into approximately 2-3 cm dice.
Brush a large rimmed baking sheet with olive oil. Arrange the fig leaves on the baking sheet to form ovals 10 cm larger than each salmon fillet. Place the salmon on the sheets, brush with olive oil and season to taste with pepper and salt. Add lemon slices, if using.
Fold the leaves over the top of the salmon and cover with additional leaves if necessary. Brush with more olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake the salmon for approximately 20 minutes or until the fish is cooked through and the leaves become crispy.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the potatoes and cook over medium-high heat for about 8 minutes, stirring regularly, or until golden brown. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with parsley and garlic. Serve each salmon in fig leaves garnished with sautéed potatoes.
Similarly, you can prepare sea bass, halibut, cod and trout or any other type of fish you like to eat. The same goes for poultry and pork suitable for grilling or baking.