God Loves Figs

First Fig
My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—
It gives a lovely light.

–       Edna St. Vincent Millay

Apart from the wretched fig newton, or the occasional pizza-with-arugula-goat-cheese-and-fig, I’ve never had much experience with figs (other than the ornamental fig tree, Ficus benjamina). That changed when a friend alerted me to a bunch of fresh ones at Trader Joe’s. They were perfectly ripe – exceedingly soft, like the thickest velvet – so I picked up a small package and sought out help from another culinary expert. He advised me to try them plain, and also with goat cheese and honey.

Their taste is sweet, but not overly so. The texture is distinct, the seeds soft, and I love that you can eat the skin and all. They’re quite a sensual fruit – lovers in other lands must have fed them to each other while lounging in silk robes and whispering of conquests and legacies and a love to defy time and space.

These paired well with the goat cheese alone, but the light bite of the latter was much better when tempered with a coating of honey. It’s hard to imagine improving upon such a perfect product of nature, but honey lifts a lot of things.

I’m told that figs also pair well with prosciutto, which I can see. There’s a magical bond between sweet and savory if done correctly – but I’m saving that for another day.

Second Fig
Safe upon the solid rock the ugly houses stand:
Come and see my shining palace built upon the sand!

–       Edna St. Vincent Millay

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