Saturday, August 2, 2008


I'm lucky to have a large, vigorous fig tree in my yard here in "Greenpernt, the Garden Spot of the World". I love that immigrating Italians brought cuttings along on their daunting journey across the pond, that they imagined a place that could be made to their fashioning as they left behind all that they knew and loved. The glorious ficus carica actually took hold in Brooklyn, and many of them are still here.

From The New York Times:
THE two fig trees, the artist Fred Tomaselli said, had begun their lives as cuttings. The previous owner of the property, Vincent Pietromatire, brought the cuttings in the 1930’s from Naples, Italy, to East Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where they eventually took root among the fruits and vegetables in his garden. When Mr. Pietromatire died in 1997, Mr. Tomaselli — still in the process of buying the property — found himself in a local funeral parlor, among a tightly knit group of his soon-to-be, he hoped, neighbors.

“Whatever you do,” Mr. Tomaselli recalled a woman telling him, “you better keep those fig trees alive.”

Keep em alive, indeed, and then do this:

Adapted from Laurie Cearley
Time: 15 minutes

12 fresh figs
4 ounces St. André cheese or other semisoft cheese like goat or Brie
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
Freshly ground black pepper.

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice an X into the stem side of each fig, cutting halfway down the fruit. Gently pry the figs open, taking care to keep the fruit intact. Stuff 1 teaspoon of cheese into each cavity, and sprinkle with a pinch of thyme. (May be covered and refrigerated for up to an hour before baking.)
2. Arrange figs cut side up on a baking sheet. Roast until the figs open and the cheese is melted, 4 to 7 minutes (less for ripe fruit). Season with pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Serve with a Prosecco, or a similarly fruity, fizzy white wine. Make sure to include a hunk of good dark chocolate, and bob's yer uncle!

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