By Ippolita Douglas Scotti:
Il Fico—the fig. Some biblical scholars believe that instead of the apple, the fig was actually the "forbidden fruit." It has been cultivated in many cultures for longer than essential crops such as wheat or peas have and has been a staple food item for families throughout history, for both rich and poor. Loaded with fiber and full of vitamin B6 and potassium, it is incredibly sweet and luscious to eat and so very good for you.
A symbol of good luck, longevity, prosperity, and happiness, this velvety fruit can always be paired with savory charcuterie or cheese. Pair a Pinot Noir, Chianti, or Malbec with any antipasti course or choose a sparkling glass of champagne. Il Fico and champagne—two of my favorite things about Autumn in Firenze!
Torrette di Fichi e Pecorino
"Little Towers of Figs and Cheese"
Perfect for a party, this antipasto is easy and original. It is brilliant for wine tastings or a special afternoon snack.
4 ripe figs 1 cup Pecorino cheese, thinly sliced Thyme Olive oil Pepper Toothpicks
Cut figs into halves. Place a slice of cheese on each fig. Repeat, piercing these "little towers" with a toothpick. Serve on a tray with a dash of pepper and thyme leaves. White wine is a perfect complement—try a Sauvignon Blanc or Syrah.
Figs and Salami with Walnut Bread
There are many kinds of salami in Italy. For this appetizer, I suggest Tuscan salami. It has big chunks of fat in it, and it is prepared with pepper and garlic, giving it a very strong flavor smoothed by the sweetness of ripe figs.
Complement by filling your house with the beautiful smell of homemade bread!
6 ripe figs, halved
12 large salami slices
For the bread: 1 teaspoon baking powder 2 cups flour 1 tablespoons olive oil 1cup water A handful of walnuts
Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C)
Mix flour with oil and baking powder. Add water to make dough. Add walnuts. Set it aside to let rise for 1/2 hour.
Place dough in a greased pan and bake for 20 minutes.
Serve bread slices with salami and figs.
Contessa Ippolita Douglas Scotti di Vigileno is a true Italian—born in Florence, Italy, from a long line of eccentric Italian aristocrats, she has traveled the world in search of adventure, romance, and magical, mouth-watering recipes. "Ippo" loves Italian history, especially as it relates to food. Author of There's a Beatle in My Soup, Curcuma e Zenzero (Ginger & Tumeric), 101 Perche Sulla Storia di Firenze (101 questions on Florence History), and Superfoods, Ippo is currently finishing her latest work, The Lords of Florence (all published by Newton Compton Publishers).