My first memory of figs was in elementary school. There were a few occasions where I would not jump on the bus, but be allowed to walk home with my friend Kim and spend the afternoon at her house. As kids go, we’d ignore her mom who told us to play close to home and walked to this one house that Kim knew had a fig tree. It was here she picked me my first fig, which I knew for sure I would die from since I had never heard of a fig. Call it peer pressure or an adventurous spirit but I immediately loved the sweet foreign fruit.
This memory came back to me Saturday night while celebrating my friend Lori’s birthday at Thirty Seven North. On the menu was a fig salad with Iowa Proscutto, watercress, aged cheddar and candied peanuts. The salad was delish and got me to wondering why I don’t see figs used more in my dining experiences.
It turns out that figs are now in season. They actually have two seasons: a brief season in early summer and the second, larger harvest in late summer running through fall.
Figs are fragile so it is hard to shop for the perfect fig. Most will be wrinkled, perhaps splits, but as long as they aren’t leaking you should be good to go. You want them plump. Don’t keep them around long; eat them quickly. It is recommended to not refrigerate them as it dulls the flavor. Figs are a good option for those who want more fiber in their diet.
Here are a few fig recipes that I recently came across that look like something I’d like to try.
Roasted Chevre, Honey and Walnut Stuffed Figs from Sticky Gooey Creamy Chewy
Fig-Swirl Coffeecake from Tracey's Culinary Adventures
Figs and Prosciutto from Martha Stewart
Now as for Thirty Seven North, I was really happy with my meal. In addition to the fig salad I had the grilled skirt steak that was herb marinated served with broccolini, fingerling potatoes and herb butter. If not the food, go for the show. A few of the men in our group benefited from a strip tease from a lady (not in our party) in front of the smoked glass of the rest rooms. She went all the way down to her flesh, removing her bra and even jostled her breasts. True story.