I posted the following photo on Instagram a few nights ago….
I wouldn’t call it warmly received. It got a couple of likes and a comment that was something along the lines of, “I’m not so sure about that one, Mary….”
The problem is, we aren’t too sure what to think about figs. Most of us have never tried a fresh fig…in fact, many of us have probably never seen a fresh fig. When we hear the word “fig” our minds go…where? Fig Newtons, of course! If you are a Gen Xer like me, you’ll remember this from the eighties. “A Fig Newton isn’t a cookie, it’s a fruited cake!” I didn’t know until I started watching Nigella Lawson in 2002 what a fig looked like or really even that a fig was anything other that Newton filling.
Let me tell you…my husband is a Fig Newton hater (I was always a fan). When I suggested that perhaps we try dried or fresh figs, he bristled. We finally bought some dried figs from the grocery store (fresh figs in the produce section are heinously overpriced-$6 or more-and look like they should have been thrown out two days ago…so, no.). And guess what? He hated them. Since the filling of Fig Newtons is made with dried figs, it was everything he hated about a Newton except the “cake” part.
Anyway, when I saw a recipe on Pioneer Woman’s website for fig & prosciutto pizza probably about a year ago, I had to give the savory sweet a try and thought that perhaps the fig jam called for in the recipe might be just innocuous enough to win over my husband’s senses. So, I smeared some on my favorite pizza dough and topped it with fresh mozzarella….baked and topped again with strips of prosciutto and piles of arugula (which the British, by the way, refer to as “rocket”). Guess what? He loved it. The sweetness of the fig jam, the creaminess of the cheese, the saltiness of the bacon, the bitter pepperiness of the greens, and the crispy crust….perfection.
The problem with whole figs, though, is that they are highly perishable. They are not. Going. To last. Period. Use them immediately. We learned this quite quickly with the first basket I bought from Sequatchie Cove Farm back in June…we waited a couple of days and they were mealy, mushy, and flavorless. Lost. By the way, farmers market figs are much less expensive than grocery store figs ($3.00 a cup)….
This time I didn’t give those figs any time to sit around and go soft. They got sliced up the same day that I bought them to go onto a round of homemade whole wheat pizza dough along with crispy Link41 bacon, soft, stretchy mozzarella (I cut the little balls I got from Whole Foods into slices for this pizza), and a little sprinkle of salt. Perfect savory, sweet, bitter, soft, crunchy, chewy…so many things going on, and all working perfectly. Amazing, delicious, so simple.
Figs do not = Fig Newtons