Oliaigua (Menorcan Vegetable Soup) with Fig Jam–Topped Toast

The name for this simple soup of gently stewed onions, tomatoes, and peppers comes from the Catalan words oli (oil) and aigua (water). The soup can be served warm or chilled, and is customarily eaten with bread, which is topped here with figat (fig jam). The recipe is from chef Felipe Riccio of March restaurant in Houston. To take it to the next level, June Rodil and Mark Sayre, who lead the wine program at March, suggest serving it with a rosé, such as the 2019 Clos Canarelli Corse Figari Rosé, from Corsica, France. "The flavors of summer peppers and rosé are a perfect match, which is why this wine, with notes of soft strawberry and cherry blossom, is paired with the Oliaigua," they say. "The weight of this rosé from Corsica plays well with the dish, which needs a bit of power."

Oliaigua (Menorcan Vegetable Soup) with Fig Jam–Topped Toast
Photo: Photo by Cedric Angeles / Prop Styling by Stephanie Bohn
Active Time:
1 hrs 15 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 55 mins
6 to 8 servings



  • 1 pound fresh figs, stemmed and quartered

  • ¾ cup granulated sugar

  • ¼ teaspoon anise seed

  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons water

  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)


  • 10 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

  • 1 small (6-ounce) leek, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise (about 3/4 cup)

  • 2 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced (about 1 1/2 tablespoons)

  • 1 ¼ cups sliced yellow onions (from 2 small [7-ounce] onions)

  • 1 cup sliced sweet green pepper or chile (such as bell pepper, Anaheim chile, or Hatch chile)

  • 1 cup sliced sweet mini peppers (from 8 ounces mini peppers)

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided, plus more to taste

  • ¼ cup drained and chopped sun-dried tomatoes (from 1 [7-ounce] jar)

  • 3 ½ cups chopped fresh tomatoes (from 4 small [6-ounce] tomatoes)

  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika

  • 4 cups vegetable stock

  • ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (from 1 lemon)

Additional Ingredients

  • 6 to 8 crusty bread slices, toasted


Make the figat:

  1. Combine figs, sugar, and anise seed in a large nonreactive saucepan until combined. Let fig mixture rest at room temperature, stirring occasionally, until figs have released their juices, about 20 minutes.

  2. 2. Add 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons water to fig mixture, and bring to a boil over medium-high, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid runs off the side of a spoon in thick drops, 20 to 25 minutes. Add lemon zest and juice, and cook, stirring often, 30 seconds. Remove from heat, and let cool completely, 30 to 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the oliaigua:

  1. Heat 6 tablespoons oil in an 8-quart stockpot over medium-low. Add leek and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic begins to brown, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low; add onions, peppers, and 1 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring often, until onions and peppers have softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Push mixture to edges of stockpot to create a well in the center.

  2. Pour remaining 1/4 cup oil into well in stockpot; increase heat to medium-high, and heat until oil is hot and shimmers. Add sun-dried tomatoes to hot oil, and cook, undisturbed, until edges of sun-dried tomatoes start to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add fresh tomatoes, smoked paprika, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt to the well in center of stockpot; cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes are tender and flavors are well combined, 5 to 7 minutes.

  3. Reduce heat to low, and add vegetable stock. Stir entire mixture in stockpot to combine, and bring to a simmer over low. Simmer (do not boil), stirring occasionally, until a white foam begins to form on surface, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in parsley and lemon zest, and season with additional salt to taste. Divide oliaigua evenly among 6 bowls. Top bread slices evenly with figat, and serve alongside oliaigua.

Make Ahead

Figat can be made up to 5 days in advance and stored in an airtight container in refrigerator.

Suggested Pairing

Clos Canarelli Corse Figari Rosé

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