All these years in California, I know I should know better. Figs may show up in June, but they can’t (and won’t) always be spectacular until at least July. I know I should know that. But every year I jump the gun. How could I not? After all, a big basket of beautiful looking figs sitting at the end of the aisle in my produce section is too big a temptation to me. We all know the end of the aisle is reserved for the good stuff, right? Figs are the good stuff (in July, August and September). Still when June rolls around and I see figs for the first time– I buy them. I buy them expecting late season sweetness. Though that is not always the case. Still, I’m never truly disappointed because I know how to make Really Roasted Figs.
Really Roasted Figs are a great solution to slightly disappointing (early season) figs. They develop a sweetness (much the same as off-season tomatoes) when cooked. You probably knew that. In fact I bet you have eaten Roasted Figs before. You may have even roasted them yourself. They get sweet and jammy and fabulous. They’re terrific on ice cream or granola. But I prefer a more savory version of Roasted Figs.
The way I roast figs is quite different than you may be used to. Typically, Roasted Figs are more appropriately called Baked Figs. They’re cooked in an oven set to 375 degrees F. for about 20 minutes. As I said they come out beautiful– jammy and perfectly delicious. Even the early season figs.
However, I like to set the oven to 450 degrees (or more) and let them really roast for about 30 minutes. Watch them carefully. You want them to blister and begin to char as they get crisp at the edges. The juices will caramelize to black and form a bittersweet candy-like crunch. It takes a little longer and you may think you’re burning them, but you’ll be rewarded with Roasted Figs that are both chewy and jammy. Sweet and savory. Really. They make a wonderful warm appetizer drizzled with honey and served with a strong cheese like Gorgonzola. But I’ve also served them with plenty of stinky cheese on top of a rare steak to smiles all around the table. GREG