Playing with Figs

Playing with Figs

Last week, it was the beginning of September, I walked into Trader Joe’s and picked up, among other things, a container of black mission figs. In my opinion those are the most
delicious figs you can get.

They were brought to California by Franciscan missionaries. With the establishment of the other missions the black mission fig was planted all along Southern and central California.
I got introduced to the figs when I came to the US in September 2000 to work at one of the best restaurants in the US.

Black Mission Figs cut and marinating in cinnamon, sugar and olive oil

The Fig and Virginia ham salad was one of the favorites and I fell in love with this sweet fruit. I love it as a chef because it is very versatile as well. I can be served with salty meets on a charcuterie plate or with cheese, turned into a jelly, fig cake, roasted with honey served with ice cream as a dessert, served as a garnish with duck or other meats etc.

Griddled figs in a salad of Romaine lettuce, charred broccoli, goat cheese and crispy salami

After I picked them up at the store I tried to decide what to make with them. I came up with a few ideas and waited for the right time to make the food.

The first dish is a breakfast dish. We love yogurt in our family (full fat), and the sweetness of the figs works very well with the tart yogurt.
I spooned some yogurt into a bowl, sprinkled it with toasted oats, cut some figs (and banana) on top and added chia seeds, desiccated coconut and honey for some more sweetness. It is just as good as another of our favorite yogurt dishes, the Birchermuesli.

Yogurt with figs, toasted oats, chia seeds, desiccated coconut and honey

In the Yogurt I used raw figs, but they can be roasted, baked or grilled as well.
I have also stuffed figs with goat cheese, wrapped them in prosciutto and baked them, served with balsamic vinegar or a raspberry glaze they are delicious.
Cheese lends itself very well for figs. Trader Joe’s has a nice selection of cheeses, triple creme like St Andre and my favorite Dlice de Bourgogne among others are great with figs. Paired with baked baguette and some of TJ’s red wine it makes a perfect lunch or dinner.

Crostini with brie cheese topped with roasted marinated figs, topped with balsamic glaze

I marinated the figs in cinnamon sugar and olive oil and cooked them on a hot griddle or cast iron pan. They can be served warm or chilled.
Slice the cheese on warm baguette and place it in a hot oven for five minutes, top with the figs and drizzle with a berry glaze. This could be a nice little canape for a dinner party as well.

Figs are usually available at the end of summer, together with a load of vegetables and greens like butternut squash, beets, broccoli, broccoli rabe, carrots and more.

figs, goat cheese, beets, broccoli and crispy salami with a honey cider dressing

I had some roasted beets left from another day and charred some broccoli in a griddle pan. I also had some salami which I also cooked on the griddle until it was crispy.
Now I had all the ingredients for a nice little salad. Just arrange everything nicely in a bowl and drizzle with your favorite drizzle or glaze, add some goat cheese, maybe toasted pine nuts, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, berries, dried cranberries etc.

Guten Apetit