The first time I had a fresh fig was on our inaugural trip to Tuscany about twenty years ago.
James was sent over to paint and I, along with our daughter Ana, joined him.
We were staying in a villa in the hill town of Barga which is in northern Tuscany. The landscape there is different than that of Siena crete region or Maremma area of Tuscany, but all are stunningly gorgeous! Barga was quite mountainous as it is in the Apennines.
Behind the villa was a very large orto,vegetable garden . Often in the morning the gardener would come by to work in the garden and many times his young grandson would be at his side.
It was on one of these mornings when I was out hanging laundry that I went over to say hello.
The extent of my Italian was an embarrassing five words which left me with only to say buongiorno.
The young boy handed me a fruit that he had just picked from the big leafed tree that I had wondered about.
The boy said,"figgy". Ah! a fresh fig. I recall being a bit hesitant, but the first bit was astounding.
I had never tasted something so unique and wonderful.
Later that same day, wouldn't you know it, I had my second "figgy", it was a white (or green) fig pulled right from the tree in a friends garden in Barga.
Back at home some 20 years later.....
This fig is one of two in our garden. They are potted and come indoors each winter. This is their third season and they are bearing a quantity of fruit this year.
We eat them fresh from the tree but we also cook them which brings out a deep exotic flavor, a sensual experience either way. This will be dessert tonight!
Fresh figs cut in half lengthwise
Good Balsamic vinegar or better yet balsamic condimento
Heat saute pan, add a tablespoon of butter, when melted and hot add figs cut side down.
Let cook without moving, after about 10 min. turn to skin side and let cook for about 10 min.
Remove fro heat and turn figs back to cut side and drizzle a little honey.
Before serving drizzle with balsamic. serve warm alone, with Mascarpone cream or with ice cream
On that first trip to Italy we learned many things including:
1. about eating figs
2. to wear comfortable shoes
3. that white truffles are divine
4. that great art is everywhere
5. To learn some Italian before we return to Italy
6. That we MUST return to Italy ( we do, as often as possible)