A cook's dream is to have the opportunity to work with what is seasonally fresh and ready right there in the very spot in which it grows, to pluck it from the vine or the tree, and work with it before it begins to change. Sure, it is healthier, and smarter for our environment, but it is more than that, in a culinary sense, it is authentic and exciting, and it is satisfying to have to imagine how to make use of what the earth naturally gives us.
I have been asked to make something with the fresh figs that are abundant on Jules' tiger fig tree. I stood under this amazing tree this morning with my cup of coffee in hand. The leaves are large and healthy, so bright green, and the skins of these figs are soft hughes of yellow and green. I am struck by the sheer number of figs that I need to save from immenant death on the ground, and I am excited by the possiblities. I start dreaming about savory tarts with pancetta and goat cheese, sweet almond and fig cakes, fig and almond crostata, dried figs worked into buttery, creamy scone dough, or fig jam to load into a thumbprint oat scone, or spoon over sweet cream ice cream, and then it strikes me, the most brilliant idea of all: just eat some, right now.
I will be cooking later, but right now, I am eating these perfectly ripe figs with my big cup of coffee, amused by the irony of my cup, sitting on this mountain top in St Helena and not wanting to go anywhere, ever.
What would you make with these? Send me some ideas!!