In Season: Figs

I just returned from a wonderful week in Italy and France, bursting with blog topics for Season To Taste!  Figs are in season, and were everywhere I turned in both countries; at farmers markets, at sidewalk fruit stands, and on the breakfast buffets at both our hotels.  The figs we encountered tended to be the light green variety, but I also saw some of the dark purple Mission figs more common here in the States.  At one French farmers market, I saw some very interesting fruit labeled as “figs”, which after several questions, were revealed to be a variety of a prickly pear.  “You know, figs from a cactus!  They have them in Texas!” the vendor excitedly told me in his heavy French accent. 

Inspired by my trip, I was eager to get some figs of my own. Yesterday, I snapped up a nice container of organic figs and used half of them to make this delightful and easy hors d’oeuvre.  Figs are extremely perishable, so it is important not to buy them too far in advance.  They usually last no more than three days in the refrigerator.  Dried figs last much longer (up to 6 months in the refrigerator), and are a great option during the winter months when fresh figs are not available.  However, fresh figs are something to behold, so it is worth getting them while you can (usually during the summer and fall). 

For those of you who have only experienced figs in the form of a Fig Newton cookie, you are in for a treat!  Figs may not look like much at first glance, but when you cut into them and the ruby red interior is revealed, they are among the most beautiful of fruits.  After your first bite, you’ll understand why they were considered sacred during ancient times.  They are soft and sweet and nothing short of pure bliss.  This recipe combines fresh Black Mission figs (readily available in all types of grocery stores), tangy Gorgonzola, and crunchy toasted walnuts to make an elegant starter to any meal.  Enjoy!

 Gorgonzola Stuffed Figs with Walnuts

Serves 4

8 medium sized Black Mission fresh figs

4 teaspoons crumbled Gorgonzola cheese

3 tablespoons walnuts

In a small pan, toast the walnuts over medium-low heat, about 3-4 minutes.  Shake the pan a few times to be sure all sides are toasted.  Remove to a cutting board and roughly chop.  Set aside.

Using a paring knife, carefully slice off the stem-end of each fig.  Next, from cut end, slice an “X” into the fig to open it like a flower, but being careful not to cut all the way through the bottom.

Place about ½ teaspoon of gorgonzola cheese into each opened fig.  Repeat with remaining figs and place on a baking pan.  Heat under a preheated broiler for approximately 5 minutes, or until cheese is hot and bubbly.

Place figs on a serving platter and sprinkle with chopped walnuts.  Serve warm.




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One Response to “In Season: Figs”

  1. Deana Gunn Says:

    Perfect timing! Our three fig trees (two black and one panache) are just ripening and we’re enjoying fresh figs. Fresh figs are so completely different from dried ones…I love the combination of Gorgonzola and walnuts–looking forward to trying it out on the figs.

    So funny about the prickly pears.

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