Figs and Ricotta – Recipe

Figs with ricotta, honey and several little garnishes
Figs with ricotta, honey and several little garnishes

I'm really enjoying this theme of using simple but fantastic ingredients and doing almost nothing to them. Much like the shaved summer squash salad of a few weeks ago, these perfectly ripe figs were spectacular with a bare minimum of manipulation. I think I would like to do a whole dinner party where every course followed this aesthetic.

[By the way, I'll be announcing the winner of the cookbook for each week's recipe testers over on the Herbivoracious facebook page each Wednesday.]

The additional ingredients are Calabro ricotta (the only national ricotta worthy of the name), lime zest, tarragon, blackberry honey, saffron, and a few tiny pyramids of Big Tree Farms salt.

This is quite a few adornments for a fig, but what makes it work is that you use tiny amounts of most of them. Each bite becomes exciting and different; one tastes like citrus and the next of herb, and another has the metallic tang of saffron.

You can add a little visual interest by cutting the figs "randomly", that is not parallel or perpendicular to the base.

Figs and Honey

Needless to say, I'll give you a recipe, but you should absolutely take this as a concept and run with it in any direction you like. The same idea would work with a perfect peach. The lime could be lemon or yuzu or nothing. Tarragon could be shiso or basil or anise hyssop. Honey could be elderberry syrup or a drizzle of good balsamic vinegar.

By the way, a great free tool both for discovering and storing these types of flavor combinations is

Figs and Ricotta
Vegetarian and gluten-free
Serves 4
5 minutes

  • 1/2 cup Calabro ricotta (or homemade)
  • 4 perfectly ripe figs
  • 1/4 cup blackberry honey
  • 8 small strips of lime zest
  • 12 fresh tarragon leaves
  • big pinch of saffron, crushed
  • pyramidal sea salt
  1. Form the ricotta into quenelles and put one in each of 4 bowls.
  2. Cut each fig into 3 odd-shaped pieces, and put the pieces from 1 fig in each bowl.
  3. Drizzle the honey in the bottom of bowls.
  4. Garnish each bowl with 2 strips of lime zest and 3 leaves of tarragon. Sprinkle the saffron powder in a fine line on the ricotta. Distribute a few crystals of salt in each bowl and serve immediately.
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Posted by Michael Natkin on Monday, October 25th, 2010 in Desserts, Gluten-Free or modifiable, Recipes.

8 Responses to “Figs and Ricotta – Recipe”

  1. Reply
    October 25, 2010 at 11:33 am #

    This is a really elegant presentation Michael, I love the simplicity. Thanks for the pointer to, what an interesting site!

  2. Reply
    October 25, 2010 at 9:08 pm #

    beautiful and fresh figs really need little adornment. this looks delicious!

  3. Reply
    Michael Natkin
    October 26, 2010 at 2:11 pm #

    Thanks, and beautiful job on your blog! I love that you make cooking for one into a delight.

  4. Reply
    October 27, 2010 at 2:09 am #

    That ricotta looks creamy and sweet. Is it really the best that you have tasted in the US? Is ricotta popular in your country?

  5. Reply
    Michael Natkin
    October 27, 2010 at 10:04 am #

    Ricotta *is* fairly popular, but sadly the US national brands are just terrible. Grainy and lacking the clean dairy sweetness they should have. I guess they are sort of passable for cooking, but anything where you would eat them fresh is a travesty. Calabro is great; if you can't find that or a good local variety, your best bet is to make your own from really good milk. (Which is super easy to do). 

  6. Reply
    October 28, 2010 at 8:53 am #

    looks awesome! and i like your alternate suggestions – anise is amazing!! do you take these photos yourself? WHY ARE YOU AN ENGINEER??? 🙂 very talented whoever the photographer is..

  7. Reply
    Michael Natkin
    October 28, 2010 at 9:28 am #

    Yep, I do take the photos – you are very kind! p.s. just checking out your blog; I've got to try this kale chip meme.

  8. Reply
    November 4, 2010 at 1:05 pm #

    Great site! I was referred to your site by another blog I really enjoy: link to

    I’m glad they pointed me your way. I’m looking forward to following your posts now!

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