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25 Ways to Use Figs

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.

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Summer Fest: A Perfect Pairing of Figs and Pizza Dough

Figs are only in season for a few short weeks at the end of summer and the beginning of fall. They’re in a whole different flavor category than the dried figs you can find year-round. Slightly wrinkled or split figs that aren’t leaking juice are what to look for. Ripeness is indicated by a slightly sagging skin. Skip figs that look shrunken, are squishy or have begun to ooze. Their sweetness is great solo or in a dessert, but it is also amazing when paired with savory ingredients like pizza dough. Figs only keep for a day or two, so plan your menu for pizza or flatbread in advance.

1. Fig and Blue Cheese Flatbread (pictured above)
Use a favorite pizza dough recipe or store-bought dough for this sweet and salty flatbread that tops a baked pizza dough with caramelized onions, figs and blue cheese. Finish it in the oven with a drizzle of olive oil until crisp with a rich brown crust. Remove it from the oven, and tear prosciutto and oregano over the pizza.

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