I hope fresh figs are here to stay, I thought I had chanced upon them just last week, but then, they just disappeared again… depending on where they are from, fig season can be finicky.
The last time I saw them in abundance, was last August through October at supermarkets and occasionally at the local wet market. I bought punnets of them eager to turn them into sweet/savoury dishes.
I didn’t start out loving the texture or taste of figs, the first time I had one it tasted kind of raw, squishy, seedy and soft. And then what turned me around, was eating a very ripe black mission fig (black mission figs have blackish-purple skin and pink coloured flesh), eating it straight out of my hand I noticed that the parts on the fig that were once green and looked raw before, had become a lovely deep purple. I learnt that I needed the fig to mature and become ripe, if I wanted to eat it raw – to enjoy it’s full fledged lusciousness – sweet, honeyed… oh la la!… so delicious intense flavour.
There are more than five varieties of figs grown around the world, and when you buy a box of them, you will notice some are more ripe than others. A good way to tell is to look for figs that have a rich deep colour and are plump and tender, but not mushy. They should also smell sweet and fresh and have firm stems and be free from bruises. Since you won’t get uniformly ripe figs in a box, and they don’t keep well for more than two days, your best bet is to take them, slice them up, and pair them with some simple ingredients – to get an amazing meal out of them!
This is a four ingredient recipe using coconut sugar, lemon zest, goats cheese and figs – it’s a perfect party starter, quick dinner entrée or mid afternoon snack.
Cut figs sprinkled with coconut sugar and lemon zest
Coconut sugar – this is sugar that comes from the sap of the cut flowers of the coconut palm and it has some trace minerals and vitamins. I use coconut sugar as it has a much lower glycemic index than table sugar. Foods high on the glycemic index cause your blood sugar to spike, which can cause your insulin levels to soar in a short period of time, and this can have serious consequences for diabetics. Just to be clear, coconut sugar isn’t a nutritional superfood and its major component is sucrose, followed by glucose, it’s still sugar so I wouldn’t recommend consuming large quantities of it.
Goat vs cow cheese – goat cheese is favourable for people who suffer from dairy aversions. Although still considered a form of dairy, goat cheese contains less lactose than cow’s cheese and lower fat content; this makes it easier to digest and more gut friendly. A serving of goat cheese, has fewer harmful substances than a typical brand of cow’s cheese, while providing the same, if not more vitamin and mineral value.
Figs – fresh figs especially the black mission variety are high in poly-phenolic, flavonoid anti-oxidants such as carotenes, lutein, tannins, chlorogenic acid etc. These phyto-chemical compounds help protect against cancers, diabetes, degenerative diseases and infections.
If you are whipping this quick eat up don’t forget to share it on Instagram at #taystesg!
Warm figs coco lemon sugar and goats cheese
6 to 10 fresh figs
1 lemon’s grated zest
1 to 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
3/4 cup goats cheese
fresh ground pepper
- Preheat oven grill function to 240C (if your oven does not have a grill function preheat oven to 190C).
- Trim off the stems of the figs and slice vertically into 2 pieces. Place figs on lined baking tray.
- On the cross section of the cut figs sprinkle with coconut sugar and lemon zest. Coconut sugar isn’t so sweet so make sure to sprinkle twice over to get more sugar on figs.
- When the oven grill is ready (about 10 cm away from direct heat source) grill for 5 to 8 minutes till coconut sugar begins to bubble or till the edges become charred. If using a fan/conventional oven preheat to 190C and cook figs for 10-15 minutes till they are brown.
- Remove figs, gently plate up as they will be hot and melty when you dish them off your baking tray. Top with goats cheese and fresh ground pepper.
Other sweeteners that work nicely with figs are raw honeys.
And other variations on this recipe: You can use balsamic vinegar instead of lemon zest. Walnuts/hazelnuts/chopped almonds for protein instead of goats cheese if you rather not have dairy.
If you would like the cheese to be warm and melted on the figs you can add it in step 3.