Food is sexy – there’s no doubt about it and figs are one of the sexiest fruits I can imagine and fresh figs are truly things of sensual beauty. If you get a good one, the right one will see you swooning in ecstasy. What I like really about them is that they feel like human ﬂesh, and then it gets better when you smell it and break it open and the seeds dance around – I am in raptures, and this is before I have even tasted it!
Figs (ficus carica) are among the juiciest, sweetest and most fragrant fruits of autumn. They also have a rich history – mentioned in the Bible, they were said to grow in the Garden of Eden and their leaves were allegedly used to cover Adam and Eve’s nakedness.
We enjoy figs grown here on Tamborine Mountain, and you can always spot a fig tree from a distance; they are covered in bird netting. The birds seem to know a day before you do when the figs are ripe and gobble them up. The fig is believed to have originated in western Asia before being cultivated throughout the Mediterranean and eventually the world.
The ones that I have seen on our Mountain are Brown Turkey and Black Genoa. They can be brown, purple, green, yellow or black, and vary in size. When I was recently in Orange NSW, I couldn’t believe our luck; we found a pick your own fig farm and we were able to pick and eat warm fresh White Adriatic straight from the tree. Their high sugar content puts figs among the sweetest of fruits. Each fig ‘fruit’ is actually an enclosed ﬂower head containing many tiny ﬂowers and seeds
There are some dishes that will stay with you for years and years, long after you’ve eaten them and you tend to remember them for their revelatory awakenings. My friend Caroline has the most magnificent dinner parties and one of my most delicious memories is when she made a simple dish of prosciutto, figs and blue cheese. I thought it was magical. It’s just three ingredients: a fig cut and filled with creamy soft blue cheese then wrapped in prosciutto and grilled. The casing was crisp and salty, the cheese tangy and creamy and the fig juicy and sweet. Truly superb.
Other ways to use figs are:
Make a mouthwatering salad by chopping fresh figs and tossing with shredded rocket leaves, crumbled goat’s cheese and toasted walnuts
Blend spreadable cream cheese with finely chopped macadamia nuts and a little honey on squares of puff pastry, bake in the oven for five minutes, top with sliced figs and cook another two to three minutes.
Thickly slice figs and place in a heatproof baking dish. Drizzle with vanilla custard to just cover. Sprinkle with raw sugar and ground cinnamon. Cook under a hot grill until just warm. Serve immediately.
I have a small tree, but lucky for me my neighbor Jim has bigger trees grown in an igloo and I get a few of his. At the showground markets there is a seller there that has them in bulk. Joseph in Main Street always has a tray of fresh ones on his counter (unless I get them first).
November 18, 2016 / Uncategorized / thechef