Figs are the ultimate forbidden fruit. Enjoying a high profile in the Bible, Qur’an, Buddhist teachings and Greek mythology, the fig has long been used to symbolise fertility, femininity and wealth.
And, after a resurgence in popularity in more recent years, the plump fig now appears in previously unchartered territory such as pizzas and salads. The delicate pink flesh doesn’t keep for too long after picking, so figs are commonly preserved in syrup or dried for longevity, but we love them fresh as a versatile companion to meats, cheeses and spices.
Figs are one of the richest sources of calcium and fibre in plants. When dried, they’re also bursting with copper, manganese, magnesium, potassium and vitamin K, as well as all-important antioxidants.
Try these quick ideas with seasonal figs:
Pound together some fresh figs, olive oil, garlic and a few anchovy fillets (soaked in cold water to remove the salt) to make a delicious spread that’s perfect for warm ciabatta or bruschetta.
Make a quick summer salad by combining fresh figs, sliced nectarines, fresh mint and wild rocket, and drizzling over a dressing of lime juice and olive oil.
Sliced ripe figs, dollops of cream cheese, strips of Parma ham and a few torn basil leaves make the perfect topping for tagliatelle.
Roast some figs and butternut, sprinkle over some cinnamon and brown sugar, and pour in a few glugs of olive oil for a beautiful side dish that’s particularly good with pork chops.
Caramelised figs are delicious served with ripe brie and pancakes, or melba toast. Alternatively, match the fresh fruit with camembert, gorgonzola, chevin, parmesan or gruyère.
Fig jam is heavenly when mixed with cream cheese and used as icing on a spicy carrot cake.
Poach figs in a liqueur of your choice and serve with crème fraîche and freshly cracked black pepper.
Use this recipe to bake a granola crumble to serve with your fresh figs for a decadent breakfast treat.
Muddle one whole fig with a few mint leaves and a couple of brown sugar cubes. Add two tots of bourbon and some ice, then shake to chill. Strain into a tall glass and top up with ginger ale.