Juicy and jammy, figs are luxurious and delicious. On their own and in desserts, jams, baked goods, in savory recipes or in salad as I have done here. They are a staple in the Mediterranean and the Middle East and are believed to be one the world’s oldest trees featuring prominently in the bible. I think it’s really cool to think about people hundreds and even thousands of years ago eating the same food I’m eating now!
Figs are a very nutritious fruit, high in fiber, vitamins and minerals like iron and calcium. They retain their minerals and most vitamins when dried and keep very well that way. They are a beautiful and luxurious addition to a meat or cheese tray for your party; cut some in half or quarters and leave some whole or use dried figs as a garnish when they’re not in season.
Fig season in Canada varies throughout midsummer to early fall depending on the variety you have and grow quite well in my zone 7 area of coastal BC. The fruits can range from green to brown to purple with pale pink to deep red or purple interiors depending on the variety.
They are such an easy care tree to grow, it is one I highly recommend if you have room for a fruit tree in your yard. ‘Desert King’ is the type of fig tree I have in my yard. There is a fantastic Fig Growers website that describes the difference between the types of figs and they sell a large variety of them from their online store in Canada.
Below is one of my favourite ways to eat figs-a salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette. You can make it directly into 4 bowls or serve it on a long platter at the table.
Fig and Prosciutto Salad
Delicious, healthy and quick to put together. Serve with toasted baguette slices brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt.
- 4 c Arugula
- 6 Figs, Quartered
- 8 Slices Prosciutto
- 1 c Fennel, Thinly Sliced
- 4 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/4 tsp Pepper
- 4 Toasted Slices Baguette with Olive Oil and Salt Optional
Mix together oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and set aside.
In each of four wide rimmed bowls, layer 1 cup arugula, 6 fig quarters, 2 slices of prosciutto torn into 2-3 pieces and 1/4 cup fennel.
Or layer the salad ingredients on one long platter.
Drizzle 1 1/2 tbsp dressing on each bowl or all the dressing on the platter if using, season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with toasts or bread if desired.