One of the things that living in South Africa has taught me is the pure, unadulterated joy that can be gained from eating fresh figs. A lot of Brits seem not to like figs. But when pushed, most self-confessed fig loathers will admit that they haven’t actually tasted a fresh fig but just don’t like the dried variety. Or more specifically they don’t like the centre of that legendary bastion of the British biscuit tin, the fig roll, and therefore must hate anything figgy.
A truly fresh fig is a thing of beauty. The best figs I have ever tasted came from Prince Albert in the Karoo. Plump and sweet and straight from the tree. My favourite way to eat fresh figs is to wrap them in foil with a little creamy blue or goat’s cheese and a drizzle of honey and bake them on the BBQ/braai for 10 minutes or so. Delicious. I cannot wait until fig season rolls around again.
But sadly it is not fig season here yet and the only figs in the shops are from Israel and heavy with food miles. So for my entry into this month’s One Ingredient Challenge hosted by Nazima at Working London Mummy and Laura at How to Cook Good Food (and for which the chosen ingredient is figs), I am afraid I have resorted to using the dried variety in this Sicilian aubergine & fig caponata. Served with goat’s cheese, parmesan biscuits and lavender honey, it looks rather fancy but aside from a substantial amount of chopping, it is really very easy. The sweetness of the figs pairs perfectly with the saltiness of the capers in the caponata and the little parmesan biscuits were something of a revelation – they are spectacularly easy to make and have a lovely flaky texture. The dish makes a lovely summery starter for four or a light main course for two. The original recipe is from the June edition of Olive magazine and can be found on the BBC GoodFood website here.