Fresh figs: One of the nicest surprises to come out of farmers markets in the last decade has been the explosion in availability of summer’s fresh figs. Once they were scarce, now they are relatively plentiful. That is certainly something to be celebrated: When a fig is good, there are few fruits that can compete with it. Figs are harvested twice in a year. The first growth, called the breba crop, comes from branches that sprouted the previous year. That’s the harvest we’re seeing now and it’ll last for several more weeks. The second, and larger, harvest comes on this year’s growth and will begin in late summer and run as late as October for some varieties. Because of the geographical distribution of fig orchards in California, the seasons at farmers markets overlap to the point that we’ll have fresh figs with nary a hiccup through fall. Most of the figs we’re finding now are Brown Turkeys or Black Missions. If you have a choice, the Black Missions usually have better flavor. Later in the summer we’ll see Kadotas and Calimyrnas and beyond. Kadotas are primarily drying figs, but Calimyrnas can be quite exquisite. If you see Adriatics or, even scarcer still, Panachees, grab them.
In a large saute pan over medium heat, combine the onion with the olive oil and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and just beginning to caramelize, about 12 minutes.
Roughly chop half the figs and add them to the pan. Continue cooking until the figs are just starting to break down, 6 to 9 minutes.
Add the white wine and one-half cup of the chicken broth to the pan and increase the heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring almost constantly, until the wine and broth reduce to a thick sauce.
Remove to a food processor or blender and pulse or blend until almost smooth -- there should still be a bit of texture to the salsa.
Return the salsa to the pan and season to taste with salt and pepper. Halve the remaining figs lengthwise and quarter each half. Add the fig pieces to the pan and heat over medium-low heat until the fig pieces are just warmed, stirring constantly. Thin, if desired, with the remaining chicken broth. Adjust the seasoning and add fresh lemon juice to taste. Serve immediately.
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