Sherrel Jones: Pig Out on Figs

Sherrel Jones shares insights and a recipe for fresh figs.
BY SHERREL JONES Published: September 5, 2012

Well-marked in the garden, it is brought upright in the spring to thrive again. Apparently these Italian growers never met an Oklahoma gopher! In my garden they obviously got quite cozy with my little tree and devoured every last twig and root of the thing. After that, I bought another tree, planted it in a huge pot and dollied it in and out of the garage between seasons. Each year there were a handful of figs at best.

Two years ago, I just planted it in the very center of our garden. It thrived, grew five times its size and produced two handfuls of small figs. This year, we had enough for the raccoons, birds, squirrels and ourselves. What a treat. Figs on cereal, in oatmeal, in fresh homemade jam, for snacks and in my food writing group's favorite appetizer: Roasted prosciutto wrapped Figs with Gorgonzola.

I share this memory to encourage you to pick up a container of figs to enjoy if you see them in some local markets or even to try your luck at growing your own. If you live anywhere south or east of our home north of Enid, it is possible. If demand for them increases, we will likely see more of these beautiful fruits in the seasons ahead.

Roasted Fig and Gorgonzola with prosciutto Wrap

If you get some figs, try this amazing little combination. You could use domestic goat cheese, but if you have a source for sweet Italian Gorgonzola it is wonderful. Build these with friends while the steaks are grilling. Serve several as a special treat along side a soup or salad for a light lunch. Allow 3 or 4 per person depending on other foods you may be serving with them.

8 ripe but slightly firm figs cut in half after removing any woody stem (cut a slit in side of smaller figs to insert cheese)

3 to 4 ounces Gorgonzola cheese (Goat cheese can be used.) Plan to use about a teaspoon with each portion.

4 slices prosciutto cut or torn into strips about 1 inch wide and 4 inches long.

Adjust oven rack to upper middle area. Heat oven to 425 degrees.

Prepare figs removing any attached stem and cutting in half or making a slit in side of smaller fruit. Prepare prosciutto separating slices and cutting or tearing into segments for wrapping.

Place about a teaspoon of cheese on each half or opening the slit to fit cheese inside the fig. Wrap the strips of prosciutto around the fig so that ends are tucked underneath. Place on foil-lined baking sheet.

Roast in preheated oven on upper middle rack for 8 to 10 minutes until cheese melts and prosciutto begins to crisp slightly. Serve warm.

Cook's notes: If you have large fig leaves, they make a beautiful bed under the figs on a tray or serving platter.

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