This summer’s fruit season has been one of the best I can recall. I’m sure the huge amount of winter and spring rain we received had a lot to do with it. First came the cherries, followed by peaches, nectarines, pluots and grapes. And now the figs. With more than a half-dozen varieties available this past week alone, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on these beauties.
I typically eat them right out of the basket. For a simple summer and fall appetizer, I like to slice them in half, stuff them with a little chÅvre and top them with basil ribbons and a little olive oil and aged balsamic. I also enjoy grilling them and serving them warm over vanilla ice cream.
This week, I made a fig salad served in Little Gem lettuce cups. This refreshing appetizer has a nice balance of sweet, salty and savory flavors.
Sam Edelman is general manager of the Santa Barbara Certified Farmers Market Association and host of “Farm to Table,” which airs live 9 a.m. Thursdays on KZSB AM 1290.
1 head Little Gem lettuce
2 baskets figs, stems discarded, figs diced (available from a number of growers at the Tuesday Santa Barbara, Wednesday Solvang, Thursday Carpinteria, Saturday Santa Barbara and Sunday Camino Real markets)
cup walnut pieces (or unsalted pistachio kernels)
cup fresh basil, finely chopped
cup fresh mint, finely chopped
2 green onions, chopped (use green and white portions)
cup crumbled feta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
Aged balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
Cut base of lettuce to release leaves and wash and dry them. Place leaves, cup side up, on serving platter. In mixing bowl, toss all other ingredients except vinegar. Place a few tablespoons of mixture into each lettuce cup. Drizzle with vinegar.
Yield: about 20 appetizers