Photograph by Gentl and Hyers food styling by Maggie Ruggiero 
Prop Styling by Ayesha Patel

Anaïs Nin

Sticky Balsamic Figs

Amuse-Bouche from Issue 11 – Summer 2017 – Heroines

Anaïs Nin and Henry Miller’s torrid ‘30s affair fueled both of their work. It was with the 1966 publication of her explicit diaries that Nin, who plumbed the depths of self and sexuality in her work, would earn the recognition she long sought—though she was alternately painted as a hero for her unapologetic bravery and slut-shamed for her perverse behavior. For Nin, a fig—the provocative fruit that her own hero, DH Lawrence, immortalized in verse—doused in balsamic and nuzzled with a rosemary-scented walnut.

serves 4

  • 2 cups balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 cup walnut halves
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 8 fresh black Mission figs

  • 1

    Preheat oven to 350°F.

  • 2

    Simmer vinegar and brown sugar in a small skillet until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 7 minutes. Immediately pour into a heatproof bowl and chill. You should have about ¼ cup glaze.

  • 3

    Toss walnuts with olive oil, and then with rosemary and salt. Toast in the oven until fragrant, 8 to 10 minutes.

  • 4

    Make a slit in each fig from top to bottom about halfway through. Pry open and drizzle with glaze. Stuff with one or two walnuts. Drizzle again before serving.