The fig is perhaps the most sensual of the fruits. It is not just the evocative appearance it is the contrast in texture that makes this fruit sexy: the silky skin, the crunch of the seeds and the soft flesh nestled in between. Few people know that you are actually eating a beautiful inverted flower (the crunch of the seeds is actually the small flowers as well).
A fig is a fruit that only ripens on the tree and doesn’t travel well (the reason you should eat as soon as possible), thus this is one fruit you need to eat in season …
Fresh figs are lovely drizzled with honey and served squashed on toast with ricotta for breakfast. Grilling or roasting a fig will bring out the natural sugars and is lovely served alongside pork or duck to temper the richness of these meats. Fig jam is a fabulous friend for a rabbit terrine, or works well served alongside a pungent washed rind cheese.
Cut a big cross into the top of the fig (through the stem) being careful not to cut through to the bottom. Give the base of the fig a bit of a pinch, so that the four top corners open out like the petals of a flower. Nestle a nodge of blue cheese into the middle of the cross (you can roast or barbecue your fig at this stage). Drape with prosciutto and top with a generous drizzle of balsamic vinegar.
Not only do they look good and taste great but they are really good for you and are very high in fibre. Look for figs that are plump and shiny, soft to the gentle touch (but not mushy), avoid any with bruises or soft patches. If you turn the fig over the eye (ostiole) on the underside of the fig should be almost exploding. This is how the fig wasp would determine whether or not to enter and there is no reason we should not do the same.
Figs love – prosciutto, goat’s cheese, blue cheese, ricotta, honey, balsamic vinegar, duck, pork, ice cream, rabbit, cheese plates