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Ingredient of the Week: Figs

Pair your figs with cheese to take them savory, or bake these in-season fruits into a tart to make them sweet.

“Figs are a bright spot in our world, around here,” says chef Tom Douglas. “Figs to me – and I like dried figs where the sweetness is concentrated – eat like candy.”

When it’s fig season, he adds, he likes to use them in everything.

Chef Thierry Rautureau thinks they make a great spread. “The meat of the fig makes a great spread, even if you’re not doing anything with it, with goat cheese and just a little drizzle of balsamic vinegar on top of the fig just dresses it up.”

If you’re looking to buy fresh figs, Tom says you don’t want a lot of bruising, but you “want them riper than you’d think. Sometimes it looks like there’s some white mold on the outside, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.”

Thierry adds that it’s really all about what you’re going to be using the figs for: if you’re baking with them, you want them to be a little bit harder to the touch. If you’re using them for a spread, look for overripe figs.

If you’re looking to make something sweet with your figs, Tom says you can’t go wrong with a fig tart.

“Just do a tart shell with pasty cream, and sliced, fresh figs all over the top of it, and then glaze it with maybe a little orange marmalade, or an apricot puree.”

Thierry prefers to glaze his tarts with something more acidic, he says, “like a reduced gastrique of verjus, which is basically sugar and vinegar, or sugar and acid, reduced to a sugar and then brushed on top, so you get kind of a sweet and sour taste.”

Whole Foods Markets are a proud sponsor of Seattle Kitchen’s Ingredient of the Week.

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