I LOVE figs!!! Several years ago I moved into a house with a very large, mature fig tree. didn’t have a clue what to do with those figs. I don’t think I had ever eaten one before. So naturally I did what anyone in my position would do, I googled “figs” and then tried some of the recipes that I came across. I had buckets and buckets of figs, I had so many I was giving them away to my neighbors and co-workers. My absolute #1 most favorite thing to use them for is to make my popular, fig preserves (amazing on double soft Brie cheese, toast or pork chops). My #2 favorite recipe I experimented with making was a baked fig with goat cheese appetizer. Over the years I tried different variations of it and finally came up with my “go-to-baked-fig recipe.” I enjoyed those figs every summer for several years until the time came that I sold that house. (I actually wasn’t upset about selling the house or moving…but I was upset about loosing that tree). Silly, right? Well silly or not, I actually cried about it when we loaded the last truck full of boxes and drove away.
That tree and I had a great bond. The thing about figs is that there is a small window of time from the moment they ripen until you pick them (or most likely, before the birds get them). You have to watch them every day (I would check them twice a day as they got nearer to being ripened). They can’t be picked too soon or they will never taste right or ripen properly. If you wait-even a day too long the birds will get them. So you have to go out every day and check, and pick and then go back in the evening and repeat the process. Usually we would have about a week and a half of good picking. (I would tell the birds: “you can have the top branches but leave me the ones I can reach!”). I know that it actually didn’t matter, but I felt like it made a difference. Now, that is silly. But that was our annual routine. I would go out in the morning and pop up my ladder and climb up into those branches, softly tugging, pulling, gathering my figs. It actually was probably dangerous for me to be up in that tree by myself on the top steps of the ladder always reaching…a little farther, alittle farther…just to get that last one. However, rain or shine I was out there with my bucket.
Well that was several years ago-but not a summer goes by that I don’t miss that tree. Over the years I have kept up with my favorite fig recipes, pulling them out of the recipe box it’s like calling an old friend and reconnecting. It’s lovely.
Baked Figs, Goat Cheese & Crumbled Bacon
You’ll need: about as dozen figs, 2 strips of bacon (cooked previously and crumbled), goat cheese, smidge of honey, baking sheet slightly oiled
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the figs in half, length wise and cut off the stem. Place the cut side up onto a slightly oiled baking sheet and bake for 15(ish) minutes. Remove from oven and push alittle goat cheese into the middle of each fig half, place a few pieces of bacon on top of each one. Place the cooking sheet back into the oven for another 5-8 minutes. Remove from oven and dot the top each fig with a tiny bit honey (I do mean a tiny bit, don’t drown those yummy figs in too much sweetness-you’ll loose the flavor of everything else. That would be sad). Serve and enjoy!!!