Figs Glorious Figs
Fresh figs are one of my favorite late Summer fruits. I first tasted them plucked straight off trees that grew all over Italy so, unlike in Chicago, I never had to pay for them. Now, I have the great fortune of knowing someone who has a fig tree and is very generous in sharing her harvest with me. Each spring she carefully moves it from it’s winter home, her unheated garage that protects it from the harsh Chicago Winter, and each Fall it is put back after the last fig is taken from its branches. Normally, we just rinse these parcels of sweet goodness and savor their sweet delicate flavor but I’ve also used them in tarts, on grilled pizza with salty prosciutto and carmelized onions and this past weekend tasted them as prepared by Michael Psilakis at a Food and Wine event at Kendall College. Like most of my favorite recipes, he kept it simple and halved the figs, put a dollop of gorgonzola on each half and wrapped them in prosciutto before grilling. We were served the two halves that had been skewered and drizzled with a pureed reduction of balsamic and figs. They reminded me of bacon wrapped dates commonly found in tapas bars. Figs also make great jam. A friend once brought me an unusual spread made with figs, black pepper, orange peel and balsamic that we ate on crackers with manchego cheese, Yum.
Branch out and give them a try while they might still be on your grocers shelf then next time you have a Newton or Newman’s fig cookie, remember that while dried figs lend nicely to these cookies, fresh figs offer a whole ‘nother world of possibilities.
Michael Psilakis gorgonzola stuffed figs wrapped in prosciutto and drizzled with fig-balsamic reduction
Grilled pizza with carmelized onions, prosciutto and fresh figs – no tomato sauce needed