As autumn turns to winter, we find ourselves at the height of fig and orange season. Though it’s not uncommon to find these ingredients featured separately on seasonal tasting menus, figs and oranges actually share a number of aromas that make them great to pair in more than just sweet desserts. To prove it, we challenged Chef Jonathon Stranger (Ludivine) and Bartender Gegam Kazarian (Alicante) to come up with culinary creations based on this fall fruit pairing. Find out how you, too, can incorporate figs and oranges in your own seasonal recipes!
Aroma Analysis: Orange
The aromatic profile of an orange is surprisingly more complex than one might expect. In addition to its familiar orange scent, we also discovered some underlying lemon and citrus-scented notes. Depending on the concentration of an orange’s spicy-pungent aromas, some oranges may even contain fruity, green or even floral scents.
Aroma Analysis: Fig
The most obvious aromatic link we find among figs and oranges is an orange-scented citrus note. These two ingredients also share fruity pineapple aromas and, to a lesser degree, some green notes, depending on the concentration. On their own, figs are also characterized by their spicy cinnamon and nutty, roasted scents.
Fig and Orange pairings
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If you’re looking to create your own fig and orange recipe pairings, you can start with the ingredients in any of the following aroma categories:
Citrus Aromas: blackberries, blueberries, carrots, chickpeas, rosemary, bay leaves perilla, ají amarillo, Darjeeling tea and crab
Fruity Aromas: apples, bananas, beets, butternut squash, mussels, red mullet, brie, Emmental and cheddar cheese
Green Aromas: cucumbers, green beans, brussels sprouts, chicken, bacon, crawfish, mackerel, turbot and Bleu d’Auvergne cheese.
Floral Aromas: raspberries, plum, red current, tomato, zucchini, ginger, Camembert cheese, veal and beer
Spicy Aromas: kiwis, melons, avocados, asparagus, celeriac, peanuts and green tea
Fig & Orange by Bartender Gegam Kazarian
Alicante-based Bartender Gegam Kazarian responded to our orange and fig challenge with a cocktail creation that combines Talisker single malt scotch whisky with dried fig-infused Pedro Jimenez wine, splashes of balsamic vinegar and his signature spiced orange and coffee-flavored Bitter Mix. (See recipe.)
Fig & Orange by Chef Jonathon Stranger
In this recipe for mesquite-smoked beef bellies, Chef Jonathon Stranger, of Ludivine in Oklahoma City, confits his meat in an orange spice-infused beef tallow. Served over a bed of charred eggplant purée, the bellies are then finished with a coffee, fig and chocolate glaze, dandelion gel and toasted peanuts. (See recipe.)