When figs are in season, there’s almost nothing better than a fresh one, enjoyed on its own. Add a spoonful of creamy cheese for a starter or roasted meat for a main course, and we’re in heaven. They have a short season, from late summer to early fall, so don’t miss it! Here are our best tips for selecting, preparing and cooking with figs, along with some creative recipes to get you started.
Look for: Choose figs that are soft to the touch but not wrinkled, mushy or bruised. Look for plump figs with firm stems and good color free of gray or tan spots; their skin can be purple, green, yellow, brown or white, and their flesh ranges from pale gold to deep, rich red. Fresh figs are extremely perishable and should be eaten as soon as possible after purchase. If need be, they can be refrigerated for 1 to 2 days, arranged in a single layer on a paper towel-lined tray.
Prep tips: Rinse fresh figs under cold running water and gently pat dry before serving. Overhandling will bruise the delicate fruit. The peel is edible and, unless specified in a recipe, can be left on the fruit. Use a sharp paring knife to cut figs in half lengthwise.
Uses: Fresh, ripe figs are best eaten out of hand but are also excellent served with cheese, grilled to accompany cured meats or savory salads, and paired with creamy desserts.
|Smashed Figs with Walnuts and Burrata
The flavors of a rich, creamy cheese and a sweet, ripe fig are exceptional partners. Here, they’re accompanied by caramelized nuts for a beautiful starter.
|Grilled Figs with Dry Jack and Prosciutto
Grilling or roasting figs gives them a caramelized, sweet flavor that enhances this classic Italian-style pairing of a salty cheese, cured meat and ripe fruit. Serve them hot off the grill as a starter, or combine them with a simple arugula salad for a light meal.
|Fig, Gorgonzola and Arugula Crostini
Here, sweet figs are the perfect foil for rich and tangy Gorgonzola cheese on a toasty baguette slice.
|Duck Breasts with Roasted Figs and Balsamic Glaze
The combination of duck and figs is classic in French cuisine. Serve with a big, fruity red wine for a special occasion.
|Seared Baby Lamb Chops with Fig-Balsamic Pan Sauce
Lamb rib chops, also called “lamb lollipops” in reference to their size, are extraordinarily delicious and tender. This sauce can be made with fresh or dried figs, or a mixture of both.
|Pork Medallions with Roasted Figs
Here, fresh figs pair with apple cider to make a sweet-savory pan sauce for lean pork tenderloin.
The lush sweetness of the figs shines through in this simple recipe, which is delicious served simply on crostini with goat cheese.
|Fig and Prosciutto Pizza
Here’s another good use for homemade fig preserves: spread it on pizza dough with caramelized onions and prosciutto for a sweet-salty pizza.
|Oven-Roasted Summer Fruits with Ricotta-Vanilla Cream
This is one of the best summer desserts we know of, and it couldn’t be easier. A spoonful of the roasted figs and stone fruits, slightly caramelized, is like eating a cobbler without the crust.