Tuesday, July 01, 2008


If you happen to have had the good fortune to have come into possession of some figs, well, lucky you. For a long time, the only encounter I ever had with a fig was either Biblical or in the form of a Newton. Which, I hasten to say, is not so bad. The Newton is a venerable cookie, especially for a commercially made cookie, and you will not catch me saying a discouraging word about the Fig Newton.

However, when I finally made the acquaintance of a fig in its fresh form, that, as they say, was another kettle of fish. Or maybe they say, that was a horse of a different color. In any case, fresh figs are different from Newton figs, although curiously, much like the Biblical fig, in that they are delectable and possibly remind one of other fleshly temptations--but I digress.

This week at the farmer's market, Liberty Heights (or, as Middlebrow and Dr. Write like to say, Liberty Heist) had both Kadota and Mission figs. They looked lovely and, after I had a nice sliver of a Kadota to make sure they were ripe and therefore sweet, I bought a mixed pint. We've been enjoying them since. There are plenty of ways to eat figs, although generally, it's what you put them beside rather than anything particular you do to them--that's how it is with fresh fruit. I love them with cottage cheese and almonds for breakfast, and also just to cut open and eat. But if you have acquired some figs, and you have had your fill of figs for breakfast, figs to the side of a lightly dressed salad, figs eaten out of hand just for the hell of it, you might try this, which I got from Deborah Madison's The Savory Way, although I paraphrase:
Figs with Ricotta and Honey. Get your figs, preferably a mix of figs, because they're beautiful and they taste a little different from each other. Cut them into fourths or eighths. Put a spoonful of fresh ricotta on a plate and arrange the cut figs around them. Drizzle lavender honey over the ricotta and figs. Put a small handful of nuts--I used hazelnuts--to the side of all the rest. Eat for dessert and feel like a Biblical character--or maybe like one of the minor Greek heroes.
You can use any honey, of course, but I finally found lavender honey this past week, a hunt which has carried on for a couple of years now. I've looked high and low, hither and yon, in market, supermarket, and specialty shop, in villages, towns, and cities, in several states and two countries. I realized, once I'd bought the honey and got it home, that one of the reasons I was looking for lavender honey in the first place was that I had read this recipe and wanted to make it, a domestic yet still mythic quest.


  1. hey! it's fig season, isn't it?! this is the best news i've had today...

  2. We had a fig tree in our backyard in Portland. Green figs. They were delicious every summer--I made many a tart. I love the ricotta and lavender honey recipe though. I shall get myself to liberty heights before I go.

  3. One word: prosciutto.



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