Sadly, October marks the end of fig seasons, which is one of our favorite times of the year at the Santa Barbara Farmers Market. During the season, we love working with every variety of fig that we can find at the market, from candy stripe to black mission.
One of our most popular appetizers during the season, which runs from May to November in Santa Barbara (obviously dependent on the wild climate change fueled weather we've been experiencing lately), is our Prosciutto-Wrapped Figs. This appetizer is based off of simple, excellent ingredients. It's the perfect balance between salty, sweet, and savory. Best of all, you don't need to be a professional Pure Joy chef to make it at home. The recipe is fairly foolproof, and great for the at home chef trying to host a laid back but elegant cocktail party. Enjoy!
Grilled Prosciutto wrapped Figs, filled with Minted Goat Cheese with a Honey Mint Drizzle
25 black mission figs
½ bunch mint
4 oz goat cheese
½ tsp sugar
6 oz prosciutto
Drizzle: ¼ cup honey with 1 tbl. minced mint stirred in
Gently snip off stem and slit the figs in half lengthwise. Scoop out part of center w/ a small melon baller.
Blend mint, cheese & sugar then gently fill the hollowed out figs with the goat cheese mixture.
Cut each slice prosciutto in half lengthwise. Wrap the filled figs with prosciutto strips & secure with toothpicks or small skewers. Grill or bake till a bit crisp and tender.
Drizzle with minted honey to serve.
Keep reading for some fun musings on figs from our executive chef and founder, Lynette La Mere:
“When time who steals our years away
Shall steal our pleasures too,
The mem’ry of the past will stay
And half our joys renew.”
I cannot discuss figs without a nod to my beloved grandfather whose contagious passion for life and food was unparalleled. While many of those around us pooh-poohed the humble little fruits he raved of their value and shared it with me. In his “Shangri-La” home he ceremonially planted a fig tree for me and every fall I had one of the truest joys life offers, that of picking ripe fruit from a spectacular tree and enjoying it’s pleasures. Fig trees are so poetically beautiful with the very leaves Adam and Eve used to cover their nakedness in the Garden of Eden. Legend has it that the Greek goddess Demeter first revealed to mortals the fruit of autumn, which they called the fig. The fig tree was held sacred in all countries of Southwestern Asia, and in Egypt, Greece, and Italy.
Every inhabitant of ancient Athens, including Plato, was a “philosykos”, literally translated, “a friend of the fig.” I pity those who’ve not yet fallen under their spell, fig lovers are not common people, we are a sensuous bunch who find pure satisfaction indulging in the sun warm fruit unaltered, straight out of hand with their gentle, leathery skin and squishy, moist, sweet center. Although considered a fruit, the fig is actually a flower that is inverted into it self.
The prophet Mohammed once exclaimed: “If I should wish a fruit brought to Paradise it would certainly be the fig.” And alas here in paradise six types of fig trees flourish.
Photo by Jodee Debes