Look what’s in my backyard now! I shot this yesterday afternoon just outside my kitchen door. The figs (Celestes) have just started coming in. I go out in the morning, pick what’s ready, and toss seven or eight of them into my morning pot of oatmeal as it bubbles away. Heaven. Just imagine this:
The chef likes to split his lengthwise and sauté them with bacon fat until golden and crispy around the outside. He drizzles a little cane syrup and vinegar over the top, finishes them with torn basil and crushed red pepper flakes, and serves them with whipped goat cheese and pecans. When selecting figs, look for Celestes that are light brown or purple and feel heavy for their size. Most important, their aroma should be apparent, even overpowering. “The first thing I did when I purchased my house, right down the street from my mom, was plant a Celeste fig tree in my backyard,” Gulotta says. Home sweet home.
Yes indeed. Celeste figs are one of those aromas that say “home” to me. Nothing smells like my late grandmother Mullay’s kitchen like figs cooking down on the stove. If you’re from the rural or small-town South, I bet you have similar sense memories.