"No matter what happens in the kitchen, never apologize." - Julia Child

Monday, October 18, 2010

My platter of figs

It's fall. It's gloriously, gorgeously fall. I love early fall weather. It gets pretty perfect in October. The sunshine seems somehow more intensely sunny, the wind has a crispness to it, and you have to wear just enough layers that you feel cozy without feeling bulky. (That comes with winter. I always feel slightly bound and stuffed and bumbly and near suffocating in winter. But in fall, you can still move freely.)

This weekend was a textbook example of perfect fall weather, and while I was out and about, I happened to find a container of lovely green figs at the supermarket. I'd wandered in to get a bottle of iced tea as I was running errands, and my eyes just happened to fall on the container.

There they were, each nestled into its own little cup, just waiting to be taken home and devoured. Yes, they were pricey ($4 for eight), but once I saw them, I had to have them. It was a small price to pay for such a satisfying indulgence.  

It was thrilling. It's not every day you find fresh figs, or at least it's not every day that a lady like me living in Boston, on the opposite end of the country from where figs are grown, finds fresh figs. Yes, they are becoming more commonplace, but you're still more likely to find dried figs than fresh ones at your supermarket. At any rate, this wasn't my usual local supermarket, but one that I don't really go to because it's quite out of the way. So it was like a doubly special treat to find them. The fates had aligned and the universe had conspired to get me into that supermarket and down that aisle to the figs. How could I say no to the universe?

I picked up a package and instinctively went right for the cheese section. Figs are delicious with certain cheeses, and initially I was going to get blue cheese, but then I found some nice crumbled goat cheese. It has a lighter, more subtle flavor and a wonderful creaminess that I think balances the delicate figginess of a perfectly ripe green fig. Green figs taste a little more fresh and a bit less intensely figgy than their dark purple (mission fig) counterparts.

Eat ripe figs as soon as possible. They are quite soft (though not mushy) when ripe, so be gentle when you wash and dry them. No peeling necessary; you can eat them as is. They're also lovely, as I mentioned, with blue cheese and some balsamic vinegar. Walnuts are a good companion too.

I sliced my figs in half lengthwise and sprinkled each with some goat cheese. Then I drizzled each with a bit of honey.

These were lovely, light and soft and tasting of the last lingering bits of summer. The delicate fig flavor wasn't overpowered by goat cheese or honey. I thought they made a nice nibble for a fall evening. And honestly, figs are just beautiful. I love the way they look when they are sliced in half. That pretty burst of bright pink when you cut into them is just awesome. You feel like you are connecting to something very ancient and almost sacred, in a way, when you eat a fresh fig. I'm not sure I'm explaining this properly, and I'm not even really sure that I can. All I know is that figs are amazing.


Foxtail Sun said...

My boyfriend use to be a sous chef and he raves about the wonders of the fig...mostly trying to convert me I think (I know it's awful but I don't like the texture). I gotta say, you are swaying me too!

Raquel said...

Ooooh, here's hoping I sway you! But I totally understand the texture issue... I have certain foods I can't eat because of that (pears!). Keep me posted if you become a fig convert! :)