25 Ways to Use Figs

By: Contributor

Fresh figs are a transition fruit. Their sugary-sweet flesh represents the shift from the hot, beachy days of August to the sweater and closed-toe-shoe nights of fall, making it just slightly less painful. I think my favorite aspect of figs is their ability to be paired with both sweet and savory foods. Figs are at home in a jam or a duck salad (or with prosciutto or in ice cream or on top of a salad) — you get the picture. For the best results, pair figs with all types of cheese, particularly blue, mozzarella, goat or aged cheese like Parmesan.

Looking to grow your own? Fig trees can't withstand the low temps of the Northeast, so they're normally found in the South and on the West Coast. For those of us not lucky enough to enjoy the fruit of our own trees, beautiful figs can be found at some grocery stores and most farmers markets throughout the season. Get them while you can, before you have to take out your winter parka!

  1. Fig and Blue Cheese Flatbread (pictured above) with a little bit of prosciutto and caramelized onions will hit the spot. Use store-bought pizza dough to speed up the prep-to-eating process.
  2. Fig Preserves, people. Whether you're picking these puppies right off the tree or from the farmers market, preserves make fantastic gifts that last all year long. Don't forget to sterilize the jars properly.
  3. Taking the preserves one step further: Fig-Ruby Port Preserves.
  4. Frank's Moustache Ride Cocktail is one of the tastiest ways to relax. Don't have any fig simple syrup on hand? Reconstitute dried figs while making a simple syrup with water and sugar.
  5. Poussin Sotto Mattone utilizes the classic preparation of cooking under a brick, which helps all parts of the chicken to cook at the same temperature while flattening it out simultaneously. "Frenching" the wings of the poussin is easy; cut off the wingtip and place the chicken on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, push all of the skin and meat towards the drumstick and expose the bone. You know you’ve been frenching right if the end product looks like a chicken Popsicle.
  6. End-of-summer grilling is complemented by a 10-minute dessert: Grilled Figs with Ricotta and Molasses or Melted Chocolate.
  7. Another simple dessert recipe: stuffed Figs with Ricotta, Pistachio and Honey. Toasting the pistachios will bring out their nutty flavor.
  8. Salads come in all shapes and sizes. Emeril's super simple Fig Salad is composed of figs, serrano ham and Manchego cheese.
  9. Alton Brown’s all-purpose Pie Crust is the perfect home for the spicy (think cinnamon and nutmeg) Fig, Pear, Raspberry Pie.
  10. The best way to show off this season's figs? Try the Fig, Cream Cheese and Mint Tart.
  11. A simple dough and lemon zest create the foundation for the Lemon Crostata with Fresh Figs and Goat Cheese recipe.
  12. Poach figs in Port wine or in a spiced syrup with honey. Choose slightly underripe figs, as ripe figs may burst after a short amount of time in the poaching liquid.
  13. Buffalo Mozzarella Bocconcini, Fig and Arugula Salad. Cheese? Check. Figs? Check. Some greens? OK, but don't get in the way of my cheese and fig combo.
  14. Go big or go home, right? Whip out the ice-cream maker for one last batch of fresh ice cream: Charlie Trotter’s Whole Roasted Figs with Goats’ Cheese Ice Cream, Spicy Fig Sauce and Oatmeal Tuiles.
  15. Keep out that ice-cream maker for Fresh Fig Gelato and Fresh Fig Upside-Down Cake with Hazelnut Ice Cream.
  16. If you haven't figured it out already, figs and pistachios are a match made in salty-sweet heaven. Bobby Flay's Orange Ricotta Pancakes with Caramelized Fig and Pistachio Compote will get everyone out of bed and down to the kitchen table.
  1. Each fig in Mario Batali's Almond-Crusted Fig Tart: Crostata di Fichi Mandorlati contains an almond surprise, all baked into a sweet custard.
  2. Homemade or store-bought duck prosciutto adds a delicate, buttery flavor to the Fig and Duck Prosciutto Salad. If duck prosciutto is out of the question, substitute traditional prosciutto.
  3. Nadia G. has done it again: Egg White with Caramelized Onions and Homemade Fig Jam Sandwich with Salad and Maple Balsamic Dressing. If it was me, I'd make an extra few batches of the fig jam and can it for the long winter to come. Just saying.
  4. Emeril's recipe for Baby Arugula with Smithfield Ham, Blue Cheese and Fresh Fig Vinaigrette comes together in a flash. Whiz up the figs with brown butter, sugar and apple cider vinegar and you're ready to go.
  5. If Citrus Yogurt with figs doesn't sound as appealing as some of these other recipes, it will once you learn that Nigella Lawson adds orange zest, red wine, honey and cinnamon to the mix.
  6. The only way to improve upon classic Prosciutto Wrapped Figs is to make Anne Burrell's Grilled Prosciutto Wrapped Figs Stuffed with Goat Cheese.
  7. Politics aside, foie gras is one of the most delicious indulgences around and Pan-Seared Foie Gras with Figs and Port Wine Sauce is a special treat. Don't forget to clean the foie gras and remove the veins.
  8. A light layer of tomato paste is the glue that holds everything together in this easy Prosciutto, Mozzarella and Fig Pizza (pictured below).
  9. End on a light note with the Fresh Pear and Fig Mixed Green Salad.
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