Sunday, 12 September 2010

IN SEASON NOW - FIGS

My local market is awash with figs, from Turkey and Spain, which are suddenly in season for a few short weeks. Check for ripeness by gently squeezing their velvety mauve skins, as you would an avocado, drop a few into a brown paper bag and take home to eat raw with Parma ham or a sharp cheese, or bake or pan-fry with honey and rosewater to make a succulent pudding. Figs do not ripen after picking, so be sure to check for ripeness: they should have a rich colouring.

When I was only holiday in Turkey two summers ago, I ate perfectly ripe little green figs straight from the tree, or purchased them from a roadside fruit and veg stall (which also sold wonderful melons, small green peppers, cherries and peaches). A few delicately flavoured figs and a bowl of fresh yoghurt made a delicious, healthy breakfast before a day spent on a sunlounger, reading, sleeping, swimming.

Ripe figs are great quartered and made into a salad with Parma ham, curls of Parmesan, or a good Mozzarella, roughly shredded, with lots of Balsamic vinegar and rocket. Or bake them in the oven with honey and rosewater to make an eastern-inspired pudding, served simply with Greek yoghurt or creme fraiche. With their high sugar content, figs are great companions for other highly flavoured foods. They are also good in tarts and cakes - the frangipane mixture (see previous post) goes wonderfully with figs.

Like asparagus, the short season for figs makes them extra special. Enjoy them while you can, for soon they will be gone....

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