Fig-Walnut Pesto with Honey


My childhood was figless.

And clueless, too — I had no idea what a fig even was, other than something that was a key ingredient in Fig Newtons, something that we never bought, and that I had no interest in. Remember the silly commercial from the 70s with the dancing fig? What was that oversize teardrop  fruit, anyway? And while we’re on the subject, what was a Newton, besides someone’s last name?

The dance seemed desperate, like someone who was trying too hard to be liked.

Figs, how I’ve misjudged you.

If there’s anything that’s uplifting about summer’s long days coming to an end, it’s the arrival of figs at my neighborhood market in September — big, fat purple ones with bright red, juicy middles. I love them in the most simple of ways, split and roasted with a bit of chevre and honey, or on top of grilled bread with proscuitto and chevre, for a sweet-salty bruschetta. I like them chopped up in big pieces, too, and folded into my Greek yogurt, with a spoonful or two of homemade granola on top.

Besides figs, lately I’ve also been thinking about fall picnics — my favorite time of year to eat outdoors — so when the Twitter #letslunch Friday crew suggested posting picnic-themed recipes, I knew that I wanted to figure out how to take figs, one of my most favorite things to eat – ever — on the road, without a big fuss.

Why not make a pesto-like something with figs, I thought to myself, which could be easily transported and spread on a crusty baguette?

So. Here you are, possibly the fastest little bread spread you’ve ever put together. Just three ingredients — plus one, if you have room to pack the honey bear in your basket.

Do I need to mention how wonderful this is?

No, I’m just going to let you make it and see for yourself. It just may inspire you to come up with a new fig dance.

Other great fall picnic ideas from the #letslunch bunch:

ShowFood Chef’s Torta al Testo

Free Range Cookies’ Caramel Apple Scones

Kitchen Trials’ Rustic Tomato Soup with Homemade Bread

Blog Well Done’s Pumpkin Subs

Tiger in the Kitchen’s Braised Pork Belly Sandwiches

Fig-Walnut Pesto

8 oz figs
cup walnuts
2 oz Roquefort, crumbled
honey, for drizzling (optional)

Preheat oven to broil.

1. Slice figs in half and put on foil-lined cookie sheet. Slide into the oven and cook for just about 10 minutes, or until the edges start to brown. You don’t want the figs to be mushy; just slightly roasted.

2. Toast the walnuts in a cast-iron skillet on top of the stove over medium low heat. When cool, roughly chop by hand (using a food processor will over-process the nuts).

3. Take out the figs and let them cool, then chop them into 1/4-inch pieces, and put them in a bowl and gently toss with the walnuts and the Roquefort crumbles. Take along on your picnic and spoon on top of a crusty baguette for for a first course, or a dessert, with a drizzle of honey. You decide.

P.S. Go Team Fig!