Calimyrna figs are one of my favorite things. You will find, my “favorite things” list is huge, but these rank. My earliest memories of figs, alas, were in the form of “Fig Newtons.” It’s not a cookie, mother… Heaven help us. I was always so fascinated at how you could break the cookie apart and glue it back together with the figgie stuff inside, with no apparent damage. I was a strange child. I know. But flash forward a couple of decades, and I found myself living in the gorgeous city of Munich, with the one and only Viktualienmarkt at the center of it all, and just a few minutes walk from our apartment. There, I saw figs again with fresh eyes- flown in from Israel. It truly was love at first sight- I mean, just LOOK at them!
They are absolutely beautiful to behold, and jeweled inside. sigh. For me, figs seem to be at their absolute best when they are in their simplest form. In Munich, I would just slice them and serve them with a board of any fantastic cheese I had run into at the market that day (happened frequently, our little fridg was full of cheese). Another great fig memory took place in Piedmont… We had traveled south to…eat, and stayed at this wonderful agriturismo called Locanda del Vallone . There was a giant fig tree growing in the yard with ripe figs starting to drop, and I was always in raptures every time I walked past it. One morning, after a little outing, we came back “home” to our little cottage on the property to find a jar, still hot, with freshly made fig jam inside, sitting on the front step. The proprietor, Monika, became a kindred spirit that day…I will never forget her kindness.
So, when these organic calimyrna figs (from California) started showing up in the market a few weeks ago, I bought some immediately, and then we left town! I loaded my little figs in a bowl, and they traveled to the mountains with us. I had hoped to do something with them, but in the end, all had time for was to eat them whole after returning from a long bike ride. When I spotted them in the market again, I was determined and came straight home for a late lunch of- figs, of course. Being one of my favorite things, I paired them with my other favorites things: Point Reyes Farmstead Blue cheese, baby arugula (ruccola!), and fresh tarragon from my herb garden. The result was something like angels singing, and the craving has been met, if not satisfied.
Calimyrna Figs with Point Reyes Farmstead Blue
by Stephanie Kunstle
- 1 fig per person
- A nice chunk of your favorite blue cheese to crumble
- fresh baby arugula
- balsamic vinegar (fig infused is nice, but optional)
- extra virgin olive oil
- fresh tarragon leaves, to taste
- salt and pepper
- Slice the figs into quarters and arrange on a bed of arugula.
- Crumble blue cheese over the top of each fig.
- Roughly chop tarragon leaves, and add to olive oil and balsamic (1 part vinegar to 3 parts olive oil), with some freshly cracked salt and pepper- wisk together to make vinegrette.
- Drizzle small amount of vinegrette over the tops of each fig salad and enjoy!