My favorite summer fruit has come into season: figs! There is a large fig tree near our house on an empty lot with branches almost touching the ground from the weight of these delicious treats. With a large metal colander in hand, I have been lightening the tree’s load.
It is uncommon to find fresh figs in the grocery store because the fruit is incredibly delicate. Once picked, the fruit only lasts a day or two before molding. Apricots are actually quite similar in this way to figs – they are amazing fresh, underwhelming dried, and simply don’t last once picked from the tree. You know the fruit is ready when their stems sap slightly away from the tree and they are soft to the touch.
I had a frustrating time finding good recipes using fresh figs. The best luck I had was looking in French and Spanish cookbooks, where I think it is more common to buy fresh from the market that morning to use in cooking that evening. In case you are fortunate enough to have a fig tree in your backyard or neighborhood, I wanted to share some successful, very simple meals I have enjoyed with these juicy delicacies.
My first meal used a baguette sliced lengthwise. I thinly sliced the figs, arranged them in a single layer on the baguette, and dotted with chunks of fresh goat cheese. I broiled them in the oven for about four minutes, drizzled with honey, and enjoyed with a crisp glass of wine.
The next meal was a pizza, which I ate to fast and hench have no photos. The base of the pizza was olive oil and crushed garlic. I threw on thin strips of prosciutto, fresh fig slices, gobs of blue cheese and walnuts. All of this was roasted together in the oven for about 15 minutes. Heavenly.
Finally, I made a simple breakfast of toast slices with proscutto, figs and more honey. It was a salty-sweet way to start off the day, but very filling.
As you can see from these three meals, honey and prosciutto are great accompaniments to fresh figs. Tangy goat cheese also balances the sweetness of figs, and strong blue cheese makes every bite just melt in your mouth. So run forth my friends, and eat figs!