Lovely and amazing: fresh fig stuffed with pecan, chevre & honey

It has certainly been quite the chore finding figs this summer, but I am happy to report that I did find a few of the brown turkey variety last week. Unfortunately this was not enough to make preserves, obviously, and just devouring the whole lot by myself seemed, well, downright selfish. So, I decided to prepare these fresh beauties one of my favorite ways, stuffed with chèvre and toasted pecans and lightly roasted. A flourish of local honey drizzled over the top adds a touch of sweetness. Fresh figs do not need much in the manner of fussy accompaniments or tricky preparations, and I was not about to mess up the delicate flavor of my few precious figgy fruits.

This recipe make both a tasty appetizer or a light dessert. You can use plain goat cheese or a flavored one, like the honey infused variety I used here. I adore pecans and pairing them with figs just seemed the right fit, if you know what I mean. But walnuts are good too. I enjoyed these figs with a Pinot Noir, but I would think that most any light to medium bodied wine (red or white) would pair well with this recipe.

Fresh figs – these are brown turkey, probably the most common variety grown here in the South.

Ingredients of four: figs, goat cheese, pecans and honey.

Step 1: Mix the toasted nuts and the softened cheese.

Step 2: Slice the figs in a cross across the top but not all the way through the fruit.

Line the figs up on an oiled baking sheet.

Step 3: Stuff each fig with a bit of the pecan/cheese mixture and roast for a few minutes in a preheated oven.

Step 4: Remove the roasted figs from the oven onto a platter and drizzle with honey. Snappity snap, there you go!

Simple Stuffed Fresh Summer Figs

  • Large fresh, ripe figs (at least 12)
  • 1 – 4 oz package chevre (goat cheese) regular or honey-infused
  • 1/3 cup toasted and finely chopped pecans or walnuts
  • Warm honey (1/4 – 1/3 cup)
  • Vegetable oil – I use grape oil

Preheat oven to 425°. Wash and dry figs. Lightly oil a baking dish. In a small bowl mix the goat cheese and nuts. Quarter the figs, cutting three-quarters of the way down (but not all the way through). Stuff each fig with the cheese/nut mixture. Bake the figs in the oven about 6-7 minutes. Remove and drizzle with the warmed honey. Serves 4.

Advertisements

Ramblings: Dog days of summer arrive with football, fresh figs and… optimism?

Ahhh, so it is August 1 and the proverbial dog days of summer have arrived here in the Lowcountry. Like clockwork, I opened the door this morning to be greeted by what my Dear Hubby describes as, “an all-enveloping blanket of humidity and heat”. Like a burning, slow motion tidal wave, it affects pretty much everything and everyone in its path from now until mid-September.

Add to this the low-slung haze and the oppressive daily heat index, and people around these parts either high-tail it for cooler temps, say in the elevations of  western North Carolina or Virginia for a week or two, or they simply learn to appreciate the annual scorch-fest known as August.

Now, it’s been hot here pretty much all summer – we did have a few days in the 80’s during June – but most days were measured in the high 90’s and last week the thermometer called in sick after registering 110 degrees for three days in a row. Lots of places around the country have been h-o-t and you’d think us Southerners would be “used” to it. Well, this Southerner is not.

This is not my favorite time of the year. In fact, to me there are only 3 good things about August:

  • Knowing that in about 6 weeks, it will be over for another year
  • College football season begins
  • Local figs are finally ripe

Well, if one can find figs, they should be in-season in my area in August. I am in an all-out hunt for local figs now, so “God willing and the creek don’t rise”, in the next 2 weeks or so I’ll have some figgy recipes to share.

In my parents yard, there were three fig trees – well, until my good-intentioned father pruned one to death, then we had two. They produced abundant crops of figs, if we could keep the birds (and the neighbors) out of them. My mother always made whole fig preserves, which like chow-chow and other oddly old-fashioned and quirky preserves, was not a favorite of mine until I got older and grew into my taste buds.

The common fig (Ficus carica) is native of the Middle East and was one of the first plants cultivated by humans. It was a common food source for the Romans and used to fatten geese for the production of a precursor of foie gras.

Fresh figs are one of nature’s most wonderfully tasting foods – if you’ve never had them – or rather, never had sweet, ripe ones – that is a real shame. Obviously running out the screen door and picking them at will off your mama’s tree is preferred, but I have bought decent figs at the farmer’s market since my mama’s yard is not in close proximity. I have also purchased mediocre ones from the grocery store, when my craving for fresh figs was high, my willpower was low, and no fig trees in northern Alabama.

Preserved figs are now one of my favorites and next to homemade apple butter, the thing I desire most on my breakfast biscuit. Pureed preserves also make a wonderfully moist addition to spice cake batter and a tasty morsel on the cheese board.

Another detail about fig trees is that they go completely bare during the winter. All the leaves drop and the stark and naked tree is left to over-winter. If one does not realize that it is a fig tree, and have the faith that it will bloom anew in the spring and bear fruit after a long (hot) summer, you would think it’s all she-wrote for that tree. But then, spring arrives and the leaves sprout, buds bloom and if the pruning shears have been left alone, all is well again with that fig tree. Take a bite of a fresh picked, ripe fig and you’ll understand what I mean.

It takes all kinds – all types of people, events and things to make the world go round, I suppose – even the dog days of summer.

“Nothing great is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes

or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig. I answer you that there

must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen.”

– Epictetus