People, growing up I thought figs were nasty. My mother inhaled jars of my family's fig preserves, and really, I could hardly watch. On occasion, I tolerated a fig newton, but by and large, figs were about on par with liver and beets. Since childhood, I have grown to adore(!) beets though I still refuse to touch liver for so many reasons: offal is a yukky word, liver is (as offal suggests) an organ which strains yukky stuff, and it looks gross. Aware that this might discount me from hardcore foodie arenas, I've decided that's just too bad. I'm not interested; in fact, I'm less than that.
I have, as with beets, really found my way to figs, and for the past few years, I've anticipated the fruit's seemingly ephemeral season with eagerness. Fresh figs are really something. They can be pretty in a vaguely sexual way or ugly as get out, along the lines of dates' roach-like appearance. They are delightfully versatile though terribly perishable. So this summer (read: right now and in the near future), give figs a second chance if you've not already. At present, I'm poaching some in a spiced coriander sugar liquid. These are incredibly decadent, especially served cold atop fresh ricotta: a breakfast of champions in every way.
They are magnificent atop a pizza, cooked quickly over a high heat with some good cheese and arugula. Mozzarella and blue pair nicely despite their many differences.
Uncooked but sliced so manageable, they add something special to a salad. Try this one!
So ignore anything you've heard about whether or not figs are small graves for fig-wasps (sometimes this is true; other times not). As my dad would say, "It's protein!"