Fresh figs can sometimes put you off, because of their squishy texture. But you know what makes it worth cooking with them? Their lovely taste. So here is how to do it to minimize the unpleasantness, but also take full advantage of the taste.
I, for one, really love the texture of fresh figs, even if I sometimes can be a picky eater. What I love about them is how versatile they are. Oftentimes I buy them at the market, wipe them a little and then just eat them out of the bag. But I love the fact that I can have them in so many dishes, either raw or cooked. There are so many things to do with them and really wanted to represent their potential right here, right now, a little bit before their season descends upon us.
Why should you eat them though? I have plenty of answers for you. First of all, because they're loaded with soluble fiber, something you'll always need in your diet. Figs are one of the oldest trees; they are even featured in the Bible, so yeah, quite the history back there. They're also rich in minerals like potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, and copper, but also antioxidants, and vitamins A, E and K. They act as a natural laxative thanks to their fiber content. The potassium in them acts as a powerful counteracting of sodium, which we all tend to have way too much of. Potassium also helps the calcium stay in your body.
And figs go great with dessert, like these roasted figs with vanilla ice cream.
How to pick fresh figs at the market
They're in season in summer and autumn, and that varies a little depending on the type of figs you're getting. When you pick them out, choose the ones that are plump and tender. Their color should be rich and deep. Make sure they have no bruises. Use your nose, too! Smell them and see if they're fragrant and sweet.
They only keep for about two days in the refrigerator, so plan your shopping accordingly. And don't wash them until you're ready to eat them or cook with them. Cut one open and see if it's ripe. If not, you can keep them at room temperature and let time ripen them.
5 things to cook with fresh figs
1. Pair them with feta and beets
Yeah, you read that right. Feta and beets go great with recently-bought figs. Think about it: their textures are pretty different. The rootiness of the beet, with the freshness of feta plus the sweetness of figs, definitely equals love this time. Pro tip? Make sure to cook the beets with plenty of garlic, to turn out even more high notes out of this dish.
Figs tend to work as an excellent companion for tons of cheeses, from blue ones to mild-flavored ones. You can experiment yourself with a nice cheese platter, too. Or try these baked figs with goat cheese and walnuts.
2. Pizza with fresh figs on top
Does it seem weird? Do you hate pineapple pizza perchance? Well, I can all but guarantee you're not going to hate this fruity pizza, because the combo of toppings – blue cheese, fresh figs, and some smoky bacon – is going to knock your socks off.
3. Make a yogurty breakfast
If you're not sure what you're having for breakfast tomorrow morning, how about pairing some lovely fresh Greek yogurt with some sweet and chewy figs? Not too much preparation needed. Just wash the figs and throw them over the yogurt bowl. The combo will make you want seconds!
4. Roast or poach them
You think you know figs? Well, you don't, really, unless you roast or poach them and uncover a new depth of texture and flavor. And the best thing is that once you cook them, you can use them for desserts or for savory dishes.
For instance, try these roasted figs with vanilla ice-cream. Serve them still warm with the cold ice cream and your dessert will be one of great contrasts.
5. Cook them with some poultry
If you're making delicious chicken dishes or even making a duck recipe, then you can try adding some figs to the oven pan. Figs taste even more spectacular if you add some fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme in the pan.
One last tip? Figs go great with salty, smoky, fatty meats like pancetta and bacon. Try wrapping them in the latter and you might as well start licking your fingers.