Between summer and autumn fresh figs start to appear in greengrocers, bought in from warmer parts of the world. They bring us one of the last soft fruits of the year.
They are high in fibre, calcium and minerals and are said to be good for helping reduce high blood pressure.
A bit of a superfood then, but they are delicate and highly perishable so only buy in small quantities and eat within a day or two. Look for plump, just squishable figs that are free from bruises and have deep-coloured skin.
This naturally sweet, soft and chewy ingredient can be used in sweet and savoury dishes. They work well with game or duck and they are beautiful roasted with honey, yoghurt and almonds.
I like them in sticky tarts and serve with honey ice cream or serve with goat’s or ewe’s cheese as a starter. I prefer to keep the skin on the fruit as they give colour to the dish, but you can peel them if you desire.
In this recipe I have made flatbread to top with this lovely fruit, some simple leaves and cheese which makes for a great lunch or starter.
Figs on flatbread
Ingredients (makes four small or two large breads)
200g strong white flour
15g fresh yeast
30ml olive oil
4 fresh figs
50g crumbly goat’s cheese
1. Mix all the bread ingredients together to form a wet dough.
2. Knead for five minutes on a lightly-oiled work surface.
3. Transfer to a bowl, cover with cling film and leave at room temperature for one hour (the dough will double in size).
4. Scoop the dough out of the bowl and knead for two minutes.
5. Cut the dough into four and roll out on a floured work surface into thin rounds.
6. Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat and add a little olive oil.
7. Put one rolled-out dough into the pan and cook for two minutes. The top will start to bubble.
8. Turn over and cook for a further minute until cooked. Repeat this with the remaining dough, keeping the cooked ones warm.
9. Cut the figs into wedges and put onto the flatbreads.
10. Arrange the leaves and crumble the cheese over the figs.
11. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.
Lawrence’s restaurant is Fat Olives at Emsworth (fatolives.co.uk).