I had a landmark foodie moment the other day. I bought and ate fresh figs for the first time. They seem so elegant, worldly, and difficult to find. When we traveled to France earlier this summer they popped up frequently, including in ice cream. Fig ice cream!
I thought they were going to be my new favorite ingredient. I imagined all the fun we’d have together in a variety of sophisticated recipes. I pored over cookbooks looking for just the right way use for my precious little basket. (I snatched them up at the Whole Foods an hour away, so there would be no easy way to get more if I squandered these first ones.) I considered pairing them with red wine or macerating them, but in the end I decided I wanted to accent their natural state just a tiny bit and really experience them for what they were. So I made a very simple honey-lemon-thyme mixture and poured it over them. We had some cherries and apricots around, so I added them to the bowl too.
Imagine my shock and horror when the apricots and cherries I threw in the bowl just to keep the figs company outshined the star ingredient! It was like the bridesmaids eclipsing the bride! Have you ever had ripe apricots and cherries together, in the same bite? Man, they are amazing. And the thyme-honey was nice too.
But the figs… at the risk of never being able to call myself a foodie, I have to be honest: I wasn’t overly thrilled with them. They looked pretty in the bowl and were exciting to explore for the first time, but it became apparent to me that one or more of the following must be true: a) I’m not a fig person, b) I didn’t get a fantastic bunch of figs, or c) I didn’t draw out their strengths by leaving them relatively unadorned like this. If I see them again before they go out of season, I may try another basket and different techniques. But if you, like me, have never come across them and think you might be missing out on something spectacular, I’m here to tell you that can stop worrying about that now and move on to other worldly, sophisticated ingredients.
Like cherries and apricots together. Mmmmmm.
Cherries, Apricots, Figs, and Thyme-Honey
- 4 fresh figs, halved or quartered
- 4 ripe apricots, pitted and quartered
- 8 dark red cherries, pitted and halved
- 1 Tbsp. raw honey
- 2 small thyme sprigs, leaves pulled off of the thick stems to make about 1 tsp. thyme leaves
- juice of 1/2 of a large lemon
1. Combine the honey, thyme leaves, and lemon juice in a very tiny pot (I used one that I think may be intended to heat up a cup of BBQ sauce on a grill) over low heat. Give it about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, to melt the honey and let the flavors meld together. Set the mixture aside to cool.
2. Assemble the fruits in one or two bowls.
3. Pour the warm thyme-honey over the fruits. Serve immediately.
Makes 1 large serving, or 2 smaller ones.