Figs photo by James Ormsby
Figs are sexy. Why? Is it their smooth, barely downy skin, so much like a soft cheek? Is it their plump, curvy shape, swerving out and in like a hip or breast you can surreptitiously palm right there in the produce aisle? Is it the drop of nectar that drips from the flower end at the moment of perfect readiness? Unlike the other fruit of our late summer, the plums and peaches, the raspberries and early apples, figs are all seedy lushness. There is no sweet-tangy snap, no whiplash between sugar and acid. Instead, figs are fleshy, breaking apart easily against the tongue, an odalisque who needs no convincing to roll back and give in.
Which makes gilding the lily, or the fig, even more alluring. A naked fig is nice, but a fig burnished with pomegranate syrup, rolled in prosciutto, and stuffed with a pinkie's worth of goat or blue cheese, is divine.
Tracing the genesis of a recipe that you think is original is always an entertaining exercise in the anxiety of influence.
I'd cede the original concept to a fabulous salad of grilled fig, arugula, and pancetta dressed with a port and fig-vinegar vinaigrette that I had at The Girl & the Fig restaurant, back in Glen Ellen sometime in the late 90s.