Fresh, ripe figs are full of flavor and as tender as the day is long, and thus require very little gussying up. Try these ten quick and easy "recipes" - some sweet and some savory - to make the most of fresh figs.
1. Bacon-Wrapped Figs
Wrap each fig with a piece of bacon (I like to use a slice of bacon halved lengthwise and wrap it around the fig in a spiral - pancetta works nicely here too as long as it is very thinly sliced). Place figs on a baking sheets and broil, turning as needed, until bacon is crisped and browned. Serve hot.
Want more of a recipe? See Bacon-Wrapped Figs.
2. Blue Cheese-Stuffed Figs
Make a slit in the side of each fig. Stuff a bit of your favorite blue cheese into the fig - I find softer, creamier blues like gorgonzola dolce work best. Serve as-is, or brush figs with canola or vegetable oil and set in a hot pan or on a hot grill, turning once, cooking until the figs are hot and cheese is melted, about 8 minutes total.
Specifics can be found at Blue Cheese-Stuffed Figs.
3. Broiled Figs
Lay halved figs on a baking sheet. Brush with a bit of canola or vegetable oil or melted butter. Broil until the fig tops bubble and start to brown on the edges. Serve with sweet or savory dishes. For a super-simple dessert, drizzle figs with honey before broiling and serve with marscapone, creme fraiche, or ice cream.
More directions are at Broiled Figs.
4. Fig & Pancetta Salad
Add chopped figs and chopped, cooked pancetta or bacon to a simple tossed green salad. A balsamic vinegar dressing is a good match, as you can see in this recipe for Fig Arugula Salad.
5. Figs in Syrup
Make a spiced sugar syrup using 1 part sugar to 2 parts water; add a cinnamon stick, orange zest, a vanilla bean, whole cloves, star anise, or cardamom - even black peppercorns can work here. Bring to a boil to dissolve all the sugar. Reduce heat to maintain a steady simmer. Add whole or halved figs and cook about 5 minutes. Remove figs, let the syrup cool, and return figs to syrup (if you'd like the figs to breakdown a bit and become one with the syrup, leave them in while the mixture cools). Serve in their own, but these figs are amazing with ice cream. They'll keep for several weeks in the fridge. See a full recipe for Figs In Syrup here.
6. Fig Coulis
In a blender or food processor, whirl figs with a splash of balsamic or sherry vinegar and enough olive oil to make the puree pourable. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Heat gently and serve with pork, chicken, duck, or turkey. You can leave it fairly thick and use more as a spread. For a full recipe see Fig Coulis.
7. Fig Crostini
Finely chop figs and toss with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and salt to taste. Let the figs sit while you cut baguette slices and toast them. Top the toasts with the fig mixture and a grind or two of freshly ground black pepper. You can spread a bit of fresh goat cheese on the toasts first, if you like, or crumble some blue cheese on top if that sounds tasty.
See the recipe for Fig Crostini here.
8. Honey-Fried Figs
Halve figs lengthwise. Melt a tablespoon or two each of butter and honey in a small frying pan and put the figs, cut-side down, in the pan. Cook until everything is bubbling and the figs start to brown a bit. As they cook, spoon the melted butter and honey over the top of the figs once or twice. Remove the figs from the pan and serve with cream, whipped cream, yogurt, or ice cream on the side, if you like.
For variations and a complete recipe, see Honey-Fried Figs.