Next to pears, which I consider to be as close to perfection on a stem as one can get in this world, my favorite fruit has to be figs. When at the peak of ripeness, it’s full of sweetness and juice, and has a mouth-feel like no other food. Eaten right off the tree, split and stuffed with Gorgonzola, or slow roasted to perfection, the fig is a perfect food.
I have a fig tree in my yard. In the warming weather, it’s gone from bare naked to flush green in a matter of weeks. Big, future-figs have popped up all over the branches. Our neighbor reminded us not to let the “drops” stay on the ground too long or they will attract insects.
Not likely. I’ve been waiting a long time for my own supply of figs and have already started to gather up fig recipes, like this one from David Tanis’ “A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes”.
Melon and Figs with Prosciutto and Mint
Serves 4-6 as a first course
2 or 3 ripe melons
24 ripe figs
12 slices prosciutto
A few mint sprigs
Halve the melons and remove the seeds. Slice into thin wedges, then remove the skin with a paring knife. Lay the melon slices in the center of a large platter.
Cut the figs in half and arrange them over the melons. Surround with the prosciutto. Just before serving, cut the mint leaves into ribbons (called a chiffonade) and scatter the mint over the platter.
Note: The riper the fruit, the better the meal. Look for ripe cantaloupe, honeydew, Charentais or Crenshaw melons. Black Mission, Adriatic or Kadota figs will work well with this dish. Ripe, they will be soft to the touch and heavy in the hand.
Fig bud pic courtesy of me.
Kent McDonald is a Certified Personal Chef, living and working in Phoenix, AZ. (c) All Rights Reserved, 2009