Is it the figs you miss, or the people attached to them in memory? Prosciutto and Melon (or figs) big flavor, small price (June menu 2).


link to first course: spaghetti with goat cheese –

ingredients for 4 (as an appetizer)

1 ripe cantelope,

200 grams of sweet prosciutto

Out for a little ride on father’s day, in the green along a small river valley criss-crossed with dirt and gravel parkways, off-road trails filled with early summer flowers – sambuca and daisies, local purplish orchids and Artemis, lillies and other – and ducks and ravens and egrets and rabbits and all those sorts of… breathing things. It’s pretty cool, the way life chuggs on as best as it can, bringing forms of different kinds across time like, well, paths criss-crossing over a stream.

…on sleepy mornings. sometimes birds of differing feather at least sleep together

I’m in the north of Italy in a land-locked region, far from more familar colors and scents. But one important smell, for me, that you can find here as well as in hotter, more southern blue places: fig tree. I was surprised to find out: in my hick-ignorance I thought they’d be rarity. Instead they’re all over – as they should be. One of the easiest, hardiest trees to plant and grow. On a hot day there’s unlikely a much better place to pause during any sort of rigorous jaunt than beneath the shade of a big fig tree, ficus carica, and breath in the pregnant sweet-syrup air, overwhelming almost to a fault, sexual, lush, quiet. Twas my fathers favorite both the fruit and the tree. And one of mine as well, the tree, the scent, and certainly the fruit. Nothing better than an August indulgence, overpicking the dark ones – they’re better, you can use the word, even if before many said there was no difference in flavor berween light and dark figs – from my aunts farm, long gone now. Or in other places (link to a love story and a fig tree)

Anyway, the one I stopped under during the ride happened to have a big bunch of clippings beneath, which dramatically enhanced its odor. I picked a few of them up and put them in the back basket alongside the usual collected flowers laid there.

..a fig-wild flower bouquet…

Way too early for mature figs, of course, even ‘fioroni’, the few big ones that can mature early in the season. But fig, after mellon, is a classic accompanyment to ‘sweet’ proscutto -(it’s not actually what we would call sweet but refers to relative flavor of the prosciutt-i, particularly quality ones. You ask for ‘sweeter’, more harmonious, less salty, the color less deep, not too much fat, when prepping prosciutto with melon or fig or other fruit. Other dishes might call for richer of more intense flavoring.) It’s a perfect appetizer, even main course if you want to stay light, for hotter weather: no cooking, delicious if you choose ripened fruit and decent ham, cool, refreshing and cheap. Simply get the juiciest melon or figs in season, and sweetest thin-cut prosciutto, then alternate wedges and slices on each plate. Voila’.

—ps.. drop his bread stick thing though, and the balsamic vigar thing, well, maybe, maybe not….

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