In summertime, Chowhounds’ fancy turns to fresh figs, sweet and intensely flavored. Figs work well in both sweet and savory dishes. “Remember,” says maria lorraine, “they’re best just before the birds get them. Very soft, wrinkled, and prune-y—that’s when they’re at their peak.”

BigSal suggests cutting figs in eighths and tossing with olive oil and balsamic vinegar; add arugula and serve as is or use to top bruschetta. Cherylptw toasts bread in butter in a skillet and tops with sliced figs, crumbled queso fresco, black pepper, and a drizzle of balsamic or champagne vinegar.

Figs are amazing grilled, says goodhealthgourmet. Halve them, brush with oil, and grill cut side down for a few minutes, until the sugars start to caramelize; you can also grill them whole just until they seem like they’re about to burst. Serve with soft cheese and herbs, or ricotta and honey. Others like them wrapped with prosciutto or bacon and grilled (you can also broil these).

For dessert, Karen_Schaffer simmers halved figs in marsala or red wine with cinnamon, allspice, and cloves, and Cherylptw sautés them in butter and brown sugar. Use either to top ice cream, yogurt, or pound cake. pikawicca removes the stems, chops figs, covers with fresh orange juice, and freezes to use in smoothies or sorbet.

Discuss: What to do with fresh figs that are going bad quickly?

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