The first time I went fishing with Brett, we caught at least a dozen fish. Within minutes of casting my line, I felt the rod twitch – a sign that a fish was nibbling on the bait. I quickly jerked the line back, setting the hook, and reeled the fish in. We took the fish off, put it in a bucket and recast the line. Two minutes later… another twitch and another fish...
Since that time, Brett and I have not caught a single fish together. We’ve woken at the crack of dawn when the tides and moon were just perfect… paddled out to the middle of lakes…. Cast off the shore, cast off the docks, cast off rocks jetting out into the sea, gone on charter boats…. And not one single fish.
I visited the farm last week, determined to break our curse. We headed down to the neighbor’s dock along the Chesapeake Bay (I should confess, we have harvested many crabs from the pots tied to that dock). We brought three rods, and an assortment of bait – crabs, live fish, dead fish and lure. We cast to the left, center and right… near the dock and 100 yards off shore.
And this is why they call it “fishing” and not “catching.”
We headed back to the farm despondent.
To console myself, I walked to the greenhouse where there’s a block of fig trees. Normally, Brett reserves the harvest for his customers, but on this day he indulged me.
There’s something very sensual about harvesting figs… I look for magenta plump fruit then gently take them in my hand to test for softness. And equally alluring is biting into that first fig, the way they open up to expose the fuchsia flower inside with crunchy seeds, soft fruit and honey sweetness.
I intentionally pick figs slightly under-ripe before they become, to my taste, cloyingly sweet. Left on the counter, they fully ripen within 12 hours. Or to preserve them for a day or two, they should be refrigerated.
If you can manage to save the figs for cooking (I could easily eat every single one raw), they are delicious grilled, roasted with a little balsamic, wrapped with prosciutto or served with blue or goat cheese.
Prosciutto Wrapped Grilled Figs with Blue Cheese and Balsamic
1/4 cup white wine
1 shallot, diced
3 oz. roquefort cheese
2 tbs. whole butter
2 cups balsamic vinegar
8 slices prosciutto
1 tsp. fresh thyme
1. Slice figs in half. Sprinkle with thyme. Wrap in prosciutto and secure with a toothpick
2. Put 2 cups of balsamic vinegar in a pot, reduce over high heat until about 1/2 cup remains and the balsamic is syrupy. Remove from heat.
3. In medium sauce pan, add white wine and shallots. Reduce over high heat until only 2 tbs. of liquid remain. Reduce heat to low (or turn heat off completely), and vigorously whisk in cheese and 2 tbs. of whole butter. Set aside in warm place (does not reheat well).
4. Grill figs until prosciutto is slightly charred and figs are heated through. (alternatively, set under the broiler for a few minutes). Serve with bleu cheese and balsamic glaze.
Garnish with an arugula salad, if you’d like.