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A (fig) tree grows in Westbury

Ripe green figs, harvested from a tree in

Ripe green figs, harvested from a tree in Westbury. (September 2011) Photo Credit: Newsday/Peter Gianotti

Here are three perfect figs, just before they became breakfast.

A longtime friend harvested them from his fruitful tree in Westbury. Only good friends give you ripe figs.

The beauties on his tree ripened all at once and I was a beneficiary. Go to a restaurant and you may find an occasional fig special, maybe with prosciutto. But I'm convinced a lot of chefs just keep them for their own breakfast, lunch or dinner. Who doesn't need some fiber and potassium?

White (or really yellow-green) and black (or really deep purple), the fig has seduced since antiquity. In more recent decades, I've contributed to fig consumption with blue cheese and goat cheese, with cracked pepper and crusty bread, in gratins and poached with vanilla; paired with candied orange peel; and supremely alone.

At Christmas, they're in the essential cookie, cucidati; and the fig-and-nut ring, buccellato; in summer, in gelato or sorbet. A fig tart would be tasty about now, too.

Today is my grandmother Elizabeth's birthday. She made those Christmas cookies. And she would have enjoyed this breakfast.




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