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Fresh figs, like melon, may be served with cured meats as an appealing first course during the dog days of summer, when they appear on the trees common in Lowcountry dooryards. All over the South, country ham curers sell small packages of thin, odd pieces for biscuits and Winch center slices. I try to keep a package of center slices in my refrigerator; then, when figs are in season, I simply cut the ¼-inch-thick slices into ½-inch strips and serve “raw” with fresh figs.

Thin slices of the duck breast “hams” also marry well with figs, melon, or preserved fruit such as Golden Pear Chutney or Plum Sauce.