Although originating in Western Asia, figs can be found in abundance throughout Italy. I was lucky enough to recently go on an Italian adventure, experiencing the culinary delights of Tuscany and the Amalfi Coast, but I was there at the wrong time for figs. I saw them starting to take shape on the beautiful trees, but we will have to return one October if we want to experience this sweet, plump fruit as part of our Italian experience.
However, in Australia, figs are currently in season and it was a warm welcome to find fresh figs, at their best, on our return from Italy a month ago. Although coming to the end of the season, this small pear-shaped fruit still looks as desirable as ever with its crimson flesh and purplish / green skin.
I just love the opportunity to add any fruit to a dish, whether it be savoury or sweet. Along with the aesthetics, the versatility of figs makes it the perfect fruit for this.
You can eat them on their own or:
- serve them with Greek yoghurt and honey
- roast them and serve with lamb or chicken
- grill them and wrap them in prosciutto
- caramelise them and serve them with ricotta
- make fig bruschetta (toast with ricotta, figs and honey)
- use them as a topper for cooked oats
- add them to salads
- put them in tagines, or
- match them with walnuts and cheese for a platter.
I have only just scratched the surface here and could keep adding to this list.
Although it is winter I wanted to share my very own fig salad recipe, as it reminds me so much of our time in Italy. It reflects the freshness and simplistic nature of the Italian cuisine and a good salad is delicious at any time of the year, especially for a weekend lunch or Sunday Brunch.
This recipe also uses apples, lemon and spinach, which are also seasonal right now!
Please enjoy this while the short fig season lasts.
- 2-3 cups of combined baby spinach and rocket
- Half an apple, thinly sliced
- 3 fresh figs, halved
- A drizzle of olive oil
- A squeeze of fresh lemon
- Gorgonzola cheese (amount as preferred – it can be quiet strong for some)
1. Combine apple, rocket and baby spinach.
2. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon.
3. Spread the halved figs around the salad (as in the image).
4. Top with small chunks of gorgonzola cheese.
This may be served as a starter or as a side to a protein source such as lamb or chicken.