With their syrupy sweet flesh, crunchy seeds and supple skin, figs are not your average fruit. While the dried varieties are widely available in most grocery stores, the bright, fruity flavor and velvety texture of fresh figs are well worth the search. Fresh figs are tasty on their own, skin and all. However, if you’re lucky enough to have a bunch of fresh figs at your disposal, prepare them in a number of dishes, both savory and sweet.
Roasted or Grilled
Include roasted or grilled figs in a variety of dishes. To roast them, slice the figs in half lengthwise and place flesh side up on a baking sheet. Depending on your recipe, drizzle olive oil, balsamic vinegar or honey, or sprinkle brown sugar over the figs. Roast them in an oven set to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, until the figs are caramelized to your liking. To grill the figs, place them flesh side down on oiled grill grates or a grill pan, and cook them until you see visible grill marks. Flip them over and continue grilling on the other side for a few minutes more. Enjoy roasted or grilled figs as is, with toppings such as goat cheese, or sliced and served on a gourmet pizza.
Take sandwiches to the next level with sliced figs. The sweetness of figs pairs perfectly with the saltiness of prosciutto. They also hold their own against cheeses with strong or distinct flavors, such as blue cheese, Gorgonzola and goat cheese. To make a simple fig, prosciutto and cheese sandwich, spread fig jam, butter or mustard on two slices of French or Italian bread, then add leafy greens, such as spinach or arugula, to one slice. Layer on the prosciutto, sliced fresh figs, cheese and the other slice of bread. Or make fig sandwiches with caramelized onions and goat cheese, or even a kid-friendly grilled fig and banana sandwich.
Chop up figs to serve with a salad, especially those that feature strong cheeses like shaved Parmesan and blue cheese crumbles. Make the salad with any type of salad greens you prefer. Arugula is an ideal option, as the peppery flavor adds a distinct contrast to the sweetness of the figs. Add figs to a cold green bean salad with blue cheese and a vinaigrette made with red wine vinegar, olive oil and fig jam. Quarter the figs and serve them with other fruits. Top the fruit with chopped sweet nuts like walnuts or hazelnuts, and serve them with a drizzle of honey or sweetened creme fraiche.
Enjoy figs as a sweet dessert. Keep it simple by cutting the figs into quarters and drizzling warm honey, caramel or hazelnut-chocolate spread over them. Or saute quartered figs in dessert wine until caramelized, then top with sweet mascarpone or whipped cream. A fresh fig tart is easy to make when you use a prepared pie crust or puff pastry. Cut the figs into thin slices, spread them on the pie crust or pastry, then bake in the oven heated to 400 F. Bake the tart until the pastry is golden brown and the figs are caramelized. For extra flavor, add a layer of custard underneath the figs, or spread fig jam all over the tart before baking.
References and ResourcesFine Cooking: Figs
The Kitchn: Recipe: Roasted Figs with Honey and Rosemary
Against All Grain: Grilled Figs with Balsamic Glaze and Goat Cheese
Cooking Light: Proscuitto, Fresh Fig and Manchengo Sandwiches
Kelly Toups: Stovetop Fig, Banana and Almond Butter Sandwich
Epicurious: Fresh Fig, Prosciutto and Arugula Salad with Parmesan Shavings
Art of Cheese: Fig, Green Bean & Radicchio Salad
Valley Fig Growers: Four Seasons Fruit & Fig Salad
Sharon Palmer: Sauteed Figs with Cinnamon and Almonds
Epicurious: Fresh Fig Tart with Rosemary Cornmeal Crust and Mascarpone Cream