Last month, I was cruising around The Fresh Market when I spied a box of fresh figs in the produce department. The thought crossed my mind, "I wonder what you do with those?"
After my Fresh Market encounter, I came across a recipe for "Fig Surprise" from Luca Marchiori - a foodie friend that I connected with earlier this year. After a brief chat over Twitter, he recommended that I try a simple fig salad, for starters, followed by his dessert.
Another week goes by, and as I'm finishing up my latest food-themed bedtime reading, Eating Up Italy: Voyages on a Vespa by Matthew Fort, I am once again attracted to the stories of fresh figs and fig-based foods that he encountered during his travels.
"You must try figs" I am told by various sources. It seemed like the fig planets were aligning when one night, the Hubs and I hit up a local restaurant which happens to feature an appetizer of fresh figs on French bread, topped with walnuts and honey.
We saw, we ordered, we were smitten.
This week when I saw the figs at Fresh Market, I dropped them in the cart. Then I came home and sent out a tweet to Luca... what do I do with them? "Blue cheese and fig salad" was his reply. "I have no blue cheese in the fridge... would goat cheese work?" "Always good, do you have any honey?"
Knife at the ready, I placed the first fig on the cutting board, turned to my husband and said, "How in the world do I prepare these things? Do I need to peel them? Do they have a pit?" Shrugging his shoulders while madly whipping the hollandaise sauce for Eggs Benedict, his encouragement was, "Try it and see!"
Julia Child is famous for saying, "You must have the courage of your convictions" - a thought that went through my head as I plunged my knife in to the soft, juicy fig. Pulling out two small plates, I crumbled goat cheese over the fig slices, and topped the whole thing off with a generous squeeze from the honey jar.
The next day, I sent a tweet (and this picture) to Luca... "I fell in love with figs last night." I didn't focus on presentation, and I don't claim to be a food photographer, but taste is what really matters in the end. And the taste of this was awesome.
Next up, a suggestion from a friend in Spain: dried figs, sliced and filled with cream cheese... and I can't wait!
What's your favorite recipe involving figs?