The other day at the Co-op I spotted this season’s first figs. Reflection on figs brings back many joyous memories. My first taste of a fresh fig was when I was living in Italy. We were on a small pilgrimage from our tiny hill town to another neighboring town. Along the trail someone pointed out a fig tree. To be completely honest I had not ever seen a non-dried version of the gorgeous fruit up until that point. I bit right into the flesh (having been instructed by the fig lovers in the group). The skin was a vibrant green and purple while the interior an earthy red studded with thousands of seeds and a sweet fibrous fruit.
Another fig encounter came when working at Spago. One night, while in the rush of getting ready for dinner service, an older gentleman walked right into the kitchen. I could tell, wearing jeans, t-shirt and dirty old hat that he wasn’t at Spago to dine. Instead he and his lovely wife were delivering our weeks supply of figs straight from their trees to our kitchen. Boxes and boxes of figs poured in. It was a parade of pefect figs in mulitple varities. My eyes lit up as I watched the splendid fruits being brought in. The chef ripped into a couple and proceeded to give a lesson on choosing the perfect fig just by looking at the exterior flesh. A lesson that became muted as my senses were singing at the taste of the incredible fruit.
So why the reflections on figs? Well first of all because they are in season and we all know that produce was meant to be enjoyed in the season in which they are at their best, and right now in Washington figs are beautiful. Secondly I want to encourage you to demistify this underused yet delicious fruit by incorporating figs into a few of your own dishes. (Although they are also wonderful on their own.)
If you would like suggestions on how to incorporate figs into your daily culinary life please check out this link (on the left side of the page click on “Fig ideas A-Z”). I think you will find some great ideas.