At this time of year, our orchards are abuzz with activity because fresh figs are coming into season. If you’ve never had a fresh fig that’s sun-warmed right off the branch, you’re missing out! But, we don’t mean to tease because when you taste one of our dried California figs, you’re getting all the sun-drenched flavor in figs that dry on the branch and later make it into your home. You could always eat the figs as is—they make a great snack and they make a healthy dessert too, but why stop there? At Valley Fig Growers, we love figs and they’re part of our everyday. Heck, we even dream about them and if you love figs, you can relate. So, we take great pride in bringing you fig recipes to inspire your next meal with Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs. It doesn’t take much for figs to be the star in any dish, but we wanted to highlight some co-starring ingredients that naturally pair well with figs.
Blue cheese might be kind of funky on its own, but crumble it or slice it to serve with sweet, dark Mission figs and your mind will be blown. We love them as toppings on a Mediterranean pizza or probably the simplest way to bring these two together is in a blue cheese salad. In addition to blue cheese, we love the saltiness of feta and California figs together, especially in a salad dressed in lemon vinaigrette. Still, on the salad front, the tangy quality of baked goat cheese topping salad is well suited to the sweetness of figs.
If you believe bacon makes everything better, then you’ll love this chopped salad with chunks of dried California figs and crisp bacon bits or one of our favorite appetizers that is also easy to make, bacon-wrapped figs with a maple snakebite glaze. Thin sheets of prosciutto and figs are one of the most common pairings in Italy and beyond. We like crisping prosciutto to serve with fig spread on crostini or to serve as a light summer dish tossed with orzo, gorgonzola and figs.
Toasting nuts amplifies their flavor and adds a satisfying crunch to fig recipes. We’re partial to walnuts and like them tossed with figs in this pasta pilaf but you could also make a festive fig walnut tart for any celebration. Almonds also are a welcome addition whether folded into muffins studded with figs or a cauliflower with curry side dish. We also like macadamia nuts and figs in banana bread and pistachios with California figs on crostini.
Whether you opt for Kalamata olives, black, or green, you can find olives in fig recipes with a Mediterranean flair. You’ll like blitzing together an olive spread with figs and black olives for an easy appetizer or condiment on a sandwich. Make an easy side dish of whole carrots and top with a green olive fig relish for a different spin on eating your veggies. When it gets chilly outside, make a big pot of Mediterranean beef stew with figs, red wine, and olives for the ultimate comfort food.
Whole grains are not just a great way to add a bit more fiber and nutrients into your diet, but also add a lot of texture and flavor. We love them in California fig recipes like this wheat berry salad or in a barley bow tie dish with figs, scented with lemon and thyme. The most popular of whole grains might possibly be steel-cut oats and they really shine when topped with honeyed figs.
What ingredient do you think is a natural with figs?