Figustation! A week of the fig

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Today didn’t start off that awesome as I had to get a test done at the hospital (nothing serious!) and I have a phobia of needles, but I was well rewarded when I visited my dad afterwards and received a lovely package of delicious purple figs that he had bought from his grocer.  They had been picked straight from the garden of the grocer’s father, really folks, unless you picked these yourself…could it get any better?

I adore figs in every way shape and form.  I love how they are so versatile and can be eaten as a savoury or sweet dish.  I inherited my obsession with figs from my Mediterranean dad who was well into them way before they became fashionable on the food scene.  I do remember though when I was a kid, I had a weird way of eating them.  For some reason I wasn’t digging the texture of the skin and would just tear them in half, eat the sweet jammy insides and throw the skins away.  My dad would throw his arms up in disgust at this fig crime I was committing.  But now, things have changed, and my dad would be proud, I eat those things skin and all.

There are so many different types of figs (too many to name here) and the best month to enjoy them is in March, although you can get them from around December to April.  To know if a fig is ripe, it should feel quite heavy and plump for its size.

Usually I don’t get to the point of cooking with figs as I can’t wait to eat them and normally just have them with some Greek yoghurt and honey.  However with so many figs at my disposal I thought I would showcase the versatility of figs this week and do a figustation just to show you the many ways you can use figs, both in savoury and sweet dishes and transcending different cuisines.

Enjoy fellow fig diggers!

Baked Figs with Gorgonzola, Prosciutto and Walnuts

Serves 4

What you need:

  • 8 figs
  • 8 small squares of gorgonzola
  • 8 slices of prosciutto, sliced thinly
  • large handful of walnuts
  • honey to drizzle

What to do:

Preheat oven to 180C/356F

Pop the walnuts on parchment paper (for easy cleanup) and roast in the oven for about 5-10 minutes.  You’ll know when they’re done as the delicious aroma of roasting nuts will be wafting from your oven.  Take them out and let them cool and don’t do what I did and eat half of them!

Take a small knife, remove the top little stem and slice through the figs in quarters from top down but only go about 2/3rds of the way down.  Then take your thumbs and forefingers and squeeze the bottom of the figs and they will flower open like petals (oh so perty!).  Now pop in the cubes of gorgonzola in between the petals of the figs then wrap a slice of prosciutto around the base of each fig.  Again, resist eating any at this point!

Roast for about 10-15 minutes.  Check after 10 and if the gorgonzola is melted and the figs are hot, they are ready.  Take them out of the oven.  Plate them up.  Sprinkle the toasted walnuts over the top and drizzle with honey.

Serve as is, or you could serve with some rocket lightly dress in a balsamic vinaigrette. YUUUUMMM!

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