June 29th, 2009
I’ve had a funny relationship with figs. See, my father is a fig-a-holic, if you can imagine that. It stems from his youth in Greece, where he ate fresh figs right off of the trees. While he enjoys dried figs, the blood bath begins at the start of every fresh fig season. He knows that, here in the States, he only has from June to September to enjoy figs the way he did during his childhood. And, oh, does he.
The thing is, figs have a ton of fiber (and are also a good source of potassium and manganese). And too much fiber can cause, well, digestive issues. So my childhood memories of figs are of watching my father eat a bunch, followed by watching my father run to the bathroom. (TMI?!) BUT, once I realized that my father’s tummy trouble was self- (and not inherently fig-) induced, I developed a new appreciation for this luxuriously sweet fruit.
One of my favorite things about figs is their texture. They have a smooth exterior that requires some bite to get through and gives way to a soft, luscious center that has a surprising little crunch from tiny seeds. Another favorite thing about figs is that they are incredibly versatile, great used in either sweet or savory dishes, raw or cooked.
It was hard to resist urging you to enjoy fresh figs raw, either plain, with a dollop of blue cheese, wrapped in prosciutto, or dipped in ricotta whipped with a little bit of honey. But, when I remembered this pizza recipe, I knew it was the one to share.
First of all, it’s pizza. What’s more kid- and adult-friendly than that?! It uses a reliable, yet exciting combination of flavors, can easily be made for a family lunch or dinner or for entertaining, and is versatile enough to work with either fresh or dried figs. In fact, if you don’t have figs at all, you can still enjoy this recipe by substitute fig jam for the marmalade called for in this version. So, even though I encourage you to make this with fresh figs this summer (try it grilled!), it’s definitely an easy, all-year-around keeper.
Fig and Prosciutto Pizza
(can be served to kids 12+ mos)
1 round pizza dough (I get mine at the local pizzeria to keep this fast and easy)
organic olive oil
3 tbsp organic orange, peach, or apricot marmalade
1/4 lb organic gorgonzola
1/4 lb prosciutto
5-6 fresh organic figs (or soaked dried figs)
salt and pepper
1 tbsp organic rosemary, chopped (optional)
balsamic vinegar (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a rimmed cookie sheet with oil. Spread your pizza dough evenly over the oiled sheet, making a thicker crust around the edges. Spread olive oil over the top of the dough.
2. Use a small spoon to dot the dough with the marmalade. Crumble 1/2-3/4 of the cheese across the dough. Lay prosciutto across the dough (I like to split each slice in half). Dot the dough with fig quarters. Crumble the last bit of cheese across all of the toppings.
3. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and rosemary, if using. Put in oven and bake for about 50 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. If you like, drizzle the entire pizza with balsamic vinegar after about 40 minutes.