22 Jun 2009

What Are Green, Purple And Deliciously Squishy

 

Yesterday I ate my first fig of the season – not perfectly ripe but near enough. I have always loved figs – figs for breakfast, figs for lunch and figs for dinner. There is just something so good about a ‘first bite’ of the season – it is a ‘memories conjured up and promises of things to come’ kind of feeling.

 

Our farm is blessed with an abundance of fig trees that produce well each season. I don’t know much about the different varieties but I do know the ones I prefer to eat. My favourite figs grow on a knarly old tree at the swimming pool and are thick skinned, green and with a tinge of purple peeking through. The other figs we have are those with the deep almost aubergine coloured skins that are smaller in size but sweeter in taste.

 

I have a several ways of eating figs – other than going for a walk, picking them off the tree and gorging on them straight away. I am not the world’s greatest cook by any means but I have learned that simple works best when you are many and your talents lie elsewhere. I have taught myself to cater for large numbers and with the minimum of fuss. I don’t try and knock myself out anymore trying to be the cleverest of chefs, it’s never going to happen, and there are Michelin restaurants for that type of excellence. I follow the rule that the ingredients should do all the work and I am there to make sure it gets on the table and looks as pretty and as appetizing as possible. Unorthodox I know but it works for me…

 

Presentation; the setting of the table, choosing the linen, the tableware, the china and glassware and arranging the flowers or whatever is going to decorate my table, that is my thing. It is what I do best and what I adore to spend my time on. For me food preparation has to be easy or I am lost forever in a confused and alien world. It is a conundrum to me how I can spend hours thinking about my table decor, yet if a recipe calls for long periods of preparation time I find myself madly searching for an alternative that is easier to follow. I have friends who are the complete opposite to me, they cook for hours and throw the table together in minutes. I think we are both successful entertainers; the art is knowing your strengths and finding a way around your weaknesses.

 

I have my ways with fresh figs…For breakfast I drizzle them with the tiniest amount of lavender honey and serve them with fresh bowls of plain yogurt. For lunch I often make a salad of sliced figs, proscuito ham and roquette leaves topped with shaved parmesan. To dress this I add a drizzle of olive oil, a few drops of thick balsamic vinegar and many twists of thick ground black pepper to taste. Aperitif time, the best hour of the day in any language, is when I serve the smaller sweeter figs. I cut them across the top in four, pinch them together without breaking them in half and fill them with a soft goat cheese. More drizzling of olive oil and grinding of black pepper and to this I add fresh chopped mint. The tartness of the goat cheese mixed with the sweetness of the fig and the zing of the mint – a taste sensation….

 

I do hope you like figs….. xv

 

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93 Comments

Vicki Lane

I adore fresh figs– we had a tree which in some years bore fruit (too cold a winter and it would die back to the roots.) Finally we lost it in the process of some construction but I have a replacement, waiting to be planted in the warmest spot on the farm — we're dreaming of figs and prosciutto.

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High Desert Diva

I haven't tried it with figs, but medjool dates with goat cheese is one of my favorite treats.

All your "ways with fresh figs" sound delectable.

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Renee Finberg

i love them too.
i have sweet memories of figs for breakfast too.
my grandmother used to give them to me.
i recently had the most fabulous salad with figs, walnuts & feta cheese.
divine.
xx

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The Gossamer Tearoom

Thank you so very much for your beautiful descriptions and the ways you serve your figs. My father has always loved them and it was a taste I only acquired as I got older. We will definitely try some of your beautifully simple recipes very soon!

Wishing you a beautiful day!

Betty

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Rose

I don't like them- I love them! I didn't so much when I was younger. My Father used to have them with scrambled eggs for breakfast- and sometimes he had a glass of bubbly too!

I love fig perfume too!

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ParisBreakfasts

This reminds me of the fabulous figs that fell off the tree into my hands in Tuscany…
There were fresh walnuts too falling…
A perfect combination!
YUM

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sherry lee

What a wonderful lesson this has been for me today!! The only time I've had figs is in those horrible fig newton cookies. I've always wanted to try them, but like you I am not a gastronome who likes to spend hours in the kitchen…my gifts, as yours, lie elsewhere in entertaining. The way you describe eating figs sounds spot on to me. Worth a try I think!!

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GrannySmithGreen

I adore figs. Ours have not ripened yet. As a matter of fact, they are just tiny little things on the trees just now. I believe most of ours are the "brown turkey" variety. Enjoy the little morsels–heavenly indeed!

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Enchanted Treasures

I love everything about figs! Color, shape, taste…I'll be searching for them after reading this post! I miss the fig tree at the California homestead from long ago.
xo Rob

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mary

Ah, yes! "Knowing my strengths and finding a way around my weaknesses"–so true, and a personal daily quest. Have a wonderful week. I'll remember these figs of wisdom.

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Simply Mel

Your 'simple' fig creations make my mouth water! I LOVE figs, and one of my favorite ways to eat them is to pair them with an extraordinary blue cheese and toasted walnuts.

Cheers to a delicious fig season!

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MrsLittleJeans

Me too on essentially all accounts. I love figs. I love simple recipes, and I do love setting beautiful tables even though mine really turn out quite simple, but in my head, I do try. Love looking at pictures of set table.
Vicki, these recipes are awesome. I have always only had fresh figs or dry figs, but oh the picture of figs, the scent of figs, the flavor of the just-right figs and of course the glorious fig tree.
What a way to start Monday morning!

XO

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Pamela Terry and Edward

And such glorious colours!
My husband's family ran a restaurant when he was little, and he still remembers his father ordering crates of figs during the holidays. They were his favourites. He would love to walk in your orchard, I'm sure!!

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lakeviewer

Oh, a trip to paradise. I love figs and would die for fresh ones. Unfortunately, they don't grow well here; nor do they travel well to reach me. I'm going to be happy with your sensual prose as a virtual meal for me. Thank you.

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my favorite and my best

the picture wasn't loading but i was able to read the title and i KNEW it was figs!! does that make me cooler than most? i would pilfer anyone's fig tree if i saw one around here. they are divine.

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A Thousand Clapping Hands

I love figs – even more so when they come in a wicker basket like yours. I wish I had your cache of fresh ones. Last week I bought dried Calimyrna figs for a sweet fix.
Although I truly love to cook, it's setting the table and arranging flowers that I love most. If I could have a job where all I did all day was design table-settings I would be perfectly happy.

Your recipes for eating figs are absolutely perfect. Perfect simplicity.
Catherine

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Noel Solomon

Ohhhh Vicki! You have taken me to heaven. Figs are my ABSOLUTE favorite. Favorite smell, taste and colors like you said. Have you ever tried a baguette toasted with goat cheese, fresh figs & a drizzle of honey? I eat that for breakfast with coffee. ;) Sooo wonderful. I truly have enjoyed this post!

xoxox Noel

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Judith. ..de Santa Fe

I so adore figs.
I'm constantly confounded by people
who just "don't get FIGS."

It comes as no surprise to me … .
that YOU Are a Fig Lover!

(and I might add: I'm frankly jealous of your multiple fig options .. . )

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Jan

I had no idea that figs are so versatile – but then I am seriously challenged when it comes to matters culinary!
All sounds delicious – and how convenient to have them so close to hand!
Lovely post.

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La Mom

Thank you for the delicious recipes. I am horrible in the kitchen, but I will definitely try your easy fig recipes! A bientot!

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Rose

Oh…..I don't remember the last time I ate a fresh fig from a tree!

You brought back many memories from years gone by when my father had a lovely vegetable garden and beautiful fruit trees.

Be Well, Rose

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Polly

All of the above sounds perfectly delicious! I love figs too, only they are a little expensive in England.

I love them with honey and cream…

And Pizza Express serves tiny figs in syrup with loads of cream…mmmmm heaven!

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bayside gardener

Vicki, you must make some jam with your crop. A lovely reminder of summer when you open a jar on a chilly winters day. I lightly spiced a batch this year with some cinnamon and star anise. It makes a wonder base for a simple tarte of pear and dates. Enjoy your figs, the season is so short and the birds will find the ripe ones before you do!!
Anita

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massi

MMMMM figs with prosciutto!!!!

THIS sounds like heaven vicki, even if I've just finish my dinner.

thanks

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Maggie May

Figs are lovely and now you have given me ideas for future recipes. You are lucky to have so many on the farm.

Thanks for visiting me.

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alice

One of my favorite restaurants serves a fig, prosciutto and mascarpone cheese bruschetta that is so good! I've copied it before and many people have not been sure of the figs, but are in love after just one bite!

Enjoy your produce!!!

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Alicia @ boylerpf

I am totally with you on figs…I love them any way they come and preferably, fresh. I have never tried them with goat cheese…another favorite of mine..so that will be the next taste sensation here!!

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Alaine

Filled with soft, goat's cheese sounds sensational! We had two trees in the backyard when I was very little. I didn't like them then and haven't eaten one since but my aged palate might be different. I'll buy and try a couple when they're in season.

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Marina

My father-in-law has a fig tree that he tends to meticulously every year and boy does it serve him well! We share figs together whenever I visit and I too adore them! I have also had them like you describe, but not with goats cheese and fresh mint….cant wait to try it!!

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Nadine @ BDG

A good friend of mine put some figs on the grill– they caramelized and were AMAZING. Now I throw all sorts of fruit on the grill.

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adriana lobo

I often prepare salads with figs. Well, at this point I must say that I really can't cook elaborated stuff, but I can surely create colourful stuff, preferably raw! So, salads are my favourites! Imagine how many fruit and leaves and vegetables you can put together and add flowers to ornament! I also LOVE setting tables and preparing the place for loved ones. I guess this is part of the salad…
love,
adriana lobo

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Millie

Yummy post Vicki, in every sense of the word! Succulent, ripe figs definitely feature on that list that always sits in the back of my mind – what I would want on the table at my last meal. Some things come & go, but figs are always there. Enjoy every bite of yours while you can. Haven't thought of using mint with them, must try next time. I think you've become the Margaret Fulton of Avingnon without even knowing it!
Millie ^_^

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My Castle in Spain

i confess figs are not my fave except dried but your presentation is just too attractive, Vicki!
it would convert me into a fig lover…beautiful writing as ever!
:-)

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Ingrid Mida

You left me hungry for figs…yummy. Although I share your love of delicious, simple food, I can spend hours in the kitchen. I find it incredibly relaxing and use it as another expression of my creativity. But my table decor that tends towards the minimalist! Play to your strengths as you say.

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benson

I'm sorry to say that I am a fig virgin! I've never had even one (unless you count fig newtons?!)I must try!

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Chrissy

Not a huge fan of figs, although the way you describe them makes me willing to give the little guys another chance!!

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Shaz

Oh so beautiful. Here in Melbourne it is Winter but I do grow fabulous figs – this post just transported me back to the beginning of the season. I agree, simple is best and I also believe that if you use the best, freshest ingredients in season, along with a simple recipe, how can you go wrong.

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Callie Grayson

figs are one of my all time favorites!! drizzled with honey and baked mmmmmm. I will need to try them with goat cheese and your salad. mmmm again!

I think I am going to paint my entire house that beautiful moody grey…. I will post images soon.
xx
callie

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count it all joy

Oh, so cruel to read this while we're in our winter! When the figs come back into season in a few months time, I'll have to re-visit this post for these yummy recipes. Lucky you. Meredith xo.

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Lylah

I've got a wonderful fig tree right next to our hen house and your post and these recipes were JUST perfect and timely. The figs are just beginning to ripe and I'd been looking for some yummy ways to serve them. Thanks!

UH…don't have a fig jam recipe do you? :-)

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red ticking

LOVE figs… i have a tree in my yard… and my boyfriend has 2 GIANT trees in his yard so i will be inhaling them all summer… great post… x pam

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DolceDreams

My mouth is watering! Your pairings are those of a true gourmand… the simplest things are always the hardest to pull off! I can only imagine what your table looks like!

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Mary Jo from TrustYourStyle

I think there's nothing better than a fresh fig. That salad has me drooling. I once had purple balanese rice cooked with figs at a dinner party–delicious! But I would take the simple breakfast of yogurt, figs + honey any day just as well :-) Yum!

xo

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Margie

Vicki, you have me drooling at the screen, what an amazing picture of your life and loves you create, the essence of French food lore and the joy of sharing it with just the right ambiance. Thank you for sharing your writing skills and your life on your blog. I will search this rainy country for fresh figs. hugs, Margie.

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C.T.

I'll be there for Aperitif time! You've described my outmost favourite Fig snack everrrrrrrr….oahh..(drool drool).

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Derrick

Hello Vicki,

Yes, I do! I like to cut them in half, top with dolcelatte, drizzle with a little honey mixed with red wine vinegar and grill. Dress salad leaves with the remaining honey mix. Delicious!

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Emily

There are few things that are as wonderful as fresh figs! They're so much better than the tough-as-leather dried variety!

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YSLGuy

I just bought some dried figs to mix with nuts to make a trail mix this morning.

When I worked in Event Planning, we used to use sweet figs, layed on crustinis, and drizzled with balsamic as an appetizer. They were always a hit. The tanginess of the balsamic and the sweetness of the fig is a great combo

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anita

fresh figs w/ goat cheese sounds like a wonderful treat…

how wonderful to have multiple trees to choose from!

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FROM THE RIGHT BANK

I adore figs. I was surprised to learn that they grow really well in the Pacific Northwest so we planted one in our garden. The leaves have appeared and I'm told they're very fast growers so I'm looking forward to fresh figs of my own!

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Carole~Maynard Greenhouse

You are so luck to have such large trees in your yard. I remember one summer in Nice my brother had a fig tree that I gorged myself on. The next day I was so sick….may not have been from eating them but ????. We have 2 varieties that we have kept in pots for years and I can't wait til they ripen. We always fight over the first one.
Loved reading about all the different ways you eat them.

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Mary

Absolutely adore fresh figs – have two teeny weeny fig trees growing in my garden – second year – and see some tiny figs on one at last, yippee!!! I was amazed at the huge, fruit laden fig trees in the South of France.

Like your way of entertaining – I get totally bogged down by the food preparation (I love to cook and have been told I'm a good one!)but I try too hard and make far too many dishes. I also love the table to look beautiful.

I must try the 'aperitif figs' with the goat cheese and mint, sounds perfect – thanks for sharing Vicki.

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Villa Anna

Vicki, this post has me salivating! I too love figs and am blessed with a thriving tree in my yard. I don't experiment enough with food so I may have to pinch some of your ideas ;)

Anna :)

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La Belette Rouge

I LOVE figs. I love to eat them and I love to wear them. L'Artisan fig is my favorite fragrance. There is something so simple, sensual and delicate about figs. It is a fruit with great complexity. I love complexity!

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Kelli

Figs are one of my favs! The last paragraph made me so hungry and I can't wait to be in Provence to enjoy some of this heavenly produce!
Bon Apetit!

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Madame DeFarge

(impressed by coming in after so many comments)

I can't take to figs. Ate too many on holiday in France some years ago and paid the consequences. Can't go near them anymore.

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Christel

Miam…miam!
Je vois que les crayons sont bien arrives! Merci, de faire partager une part de ta vie Francaise, une tres tres agreable lecture.x

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The Pink Poodle

dear vicki..sorry have missed a few of your last blogs…
have just been frantic doing NOTHING!!

(i know you will know what i mean)…

OKAY…love the fig post…they are just a scrumptious fruit to have bacon/prosciutto…)..wrapped around them??

hey vicki…wish you were back in OZ watching the aussie MASTERCHEF series…
IT IS Awesome..!! (much better than the UK version)…
great cooking…great contestants..
fascinating viewing)…
it is a wonderful aussie tv series..
I AM addicted!! (amongst millions of others!

ohh! it is nearly time to zip off and watch the next episode.!!
they are in HONG KONG…fascinating..
LOVE IT…

xx from OZ…andrea

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Gaia

I love the figues jam and the focaccia with fifues and cheese!
My aunt had a fig tree where I used to go…They remindm to summer and to old and nice memories!

My favorite is the black one!
Juicy!

Reply

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