Saturday, August 29, 2009
Ode to a Fig
When I was a teacher I'd have my Creative Writing students write odes as an early exercise in description. We'd read many examples from famous writers, including the master of odes, Pablo Neruda, who wrote tributes to just about everything. So this morning, I was shocked to find that he did not write an ode to a fig.
I can only conclude that the Nobel Laureate could not find the words to describe such a delicacy. Or maybe he was too busy eating the ancient fruit to worry about writing about it.
I won't try to create poetry here, but I will say that there is no fruit that I love more than a fig. The fruit itself is plump and round and hangs in abundance on its tree.
Cut in half, it reminds me of a Van Gogh painting, with its tiny swirls reaching toward the sky. The neutral flavor works well with sweet or savory dishes; it pairs amazingly with cheese and honey, or prosciutto, like we had the other night.
The other thing that I love about figs is that they ripen at towards the end of summer, signifying the sweet transition into the crispness of fall. It's no wonder that the Italian slang for cool ( like a cool guy) is Fico, or fig.
Figs Wrapped in Prosciutto
8 fresh figs
4 slices of prosciutto
4 teaspoons of gorgonzola cheese
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Place vinegar in a small saucepan over low heat until reduced to a thick syrup ( this should take about 5 minutes).
Cut an X in each fig ( but don't cut all the way through). Add 1/2 teaspoon of cheese into each fig. Cut the prosciutto in half lengthwise and wrap it around the fig.
Drizzle with the balsamic reduction.