Mr. Wu embraces fruit and enjoys serving it–and eating it–for dessert.
I like fruit, too, but sometimes finding fruit in its fruitiest state is at best a gamble. More than a few flavorless or mushy apples, pithy oranges, and rock hard peaches will put a serious dent in one’s ardor for the arbor.
Thank goodness for the summer months, when local farmers bring their fresh produce to roadside stands and farmers markets, and mouth-wateringly pungent, drippy peaches and sweet juicy berries are abundant and just waiting to be had.
This past week though, I’ve been enjoying my very own harvest–thanks to a very generous neighbor who doesn’t give a fig about figs.
“Take them all!” she encouraged, but I didn’t need much encouragement. Indeed, I’ve had a covetous eye on her tree for the past several weeks, and have been watching patiently as the figs that began as hard little green knots grew soft and fat –until finally the limbs of the tree began to droop ever so slightly.
Then last Sunday I walked over and gathered a bucket of the lovely golden green globes. The rest is delicious history.
I cut all of the figs into slices and baked some of them for future use as garnishes. Spread out and touching on the cookie sheet, they looked like a mosaic or a stained glass window.
The rest of the figs were stewed on the stove top with butter and brown sugar until they formed a beautiful sticky goo of fig preserves. I trolled through a variety of recipes, some of which called for the addition of balsamic vinegar or of a liquor of some ilk.
But somehow I couldn’t bring myself to add a single extra ingredient–their darn figginess was just so sumptuously figgy. Why mess with perfection?
But I did play with a variety of fig aps, like framing the colorful slices in tiny squares of pastry and sprinkling them with a just a bit of brown sugar before popping them in a hot oven.
But the hands-down favorite was a triple combination consisting of the rosemary and garlic sourdough rolls that I sliced and toasted and then spread with tart, creamy chevre and topped with the hot fig preserves.
What a delightful way to start the day with a cup of coffee–and it was equally good with a glass of crisp chardonnay as an appetizer.