Figs are often paired with sweet oranges, with a touch of extra virgin olive oil, in Southern Italy, then used in salads, alongside fish, pork, poultry – or used with cheese or dessert. We combine these wonderful figs along with oranges and sweet/tart Meyer lemons to create the very versatile Serious Foodie Orange & Calimyrna Fig Finishing Sauce.
In the 1700s, figs came to America via an influx of European explorers, primarily Spanish and Italian, who planted figs along the West Coast of Mexico and California, where a commercial industry took root in the Central Valley in the late 1800s.
Like most fruit, figs are not created equal – there are various species, and some figs change their flavor profile depending on where they are grown. Of the hundreds and hundreds of cultivated varieties, we find that the Calimyrna figs are among the favorites of American chefs. Though originating from Turkey (and named for the famous Turkish city Smyrna), this uniquely American variety has light-green to yellow skin with a delicate flavor of honey, apricot jam, butterscotch, caramel, and a pronounced nuttiness from the numerous soft seeds.