Monday, April 11, 2011

Figs are the fruit of the gods

In our backyard at Phillip Island Doug planted five fig trees, and this season has seen them laden with lush fruit. Although my stomach can't handle figs, Doug's can -- also I have friends eager to receive figs and experiment with different ways of serving them.

Harry's on the Esplanade in Cowes offer a tempting and tastefully presented luncheon dish that reads: Baked figs filled with shadows of blue and wrapped with prosciutto served with rocket salad with a sherry vinegar tarago blue cheese dressing.

The preparation is as follows: 1. Select two large ripe figs and slice off the bases, so they sit straight. 2. Split each top four ways to open up the pink fleshy interior. 3. Smooth three-quarters of a teaspoon of blue vein cheese into the top of each fig. 4. Wrap each fig in a thin layer of bacon, ham or prosciutto and secure with a toothpick. 5. Bake in a moderate oven until hot and tender. 6. Serve with a rocket salad that includes red pepper and red onion. 7. Make up a sherry vinegar tarago blue cheese dressing and drizzle over the salad.

Figs, when plump, ripe and picked straight from the tree deserve their reputation as the fruit of the gods. When dried, made into conserves or baked in the above manner, figs take on a rich sensual character.

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