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Simple and delicious lamb cutlets with fresh figs recipe

sliced figsI love fresh figs.

As a child, I watched my mother occasionally savour these exotic and expensive fruit. When she shared her delight and passed me a fragment to taste, I just couldn’t understand the passion. How she could like the pinky flesh, the seeds, the thick skin?

Years later, wanting to impress, I picked a fig and gently took a bite. It was both surprising and sensuous. I fell instantly in love with the fruit. Suddenly I realised that it is the disparate combination of deep purple skin, blushing flesh, texture and sweet juice that makes a fig so delicious. A fig cries out to be relished.

Ever since I read about Richard Leaders’ calves liver with figs I have wanted to try the combination of fresh figs and meat. The combination was so memorable that I have held it in the back of my mind for 4 months until fresh figs were available locally. On Saturday evening figs were half price so a box was tossed into my trolley and the menu changed.

Saturday night has to be a special meal. Generally it’s my task as D cooks on Friday and Sunday. This is the one night when I have time to experiment. Over the years we have chomped our way through some great disasters. D, being hungry, always eats his. I tend to give up very quickly if eating requires any effort at all.

Saturday night’s meal was good. I had bought some chubby lamb cutlets from Fred. The fresh fig sauce was excellent but the real surprise was the fresh fig garnish. The thin slices of succulent fig looked and tasted wonderful with the lamb cutlets. So good that I sprang from the table and sliced another fig. In fact, I would not bother to make the sauce next time and just slice a fig per person to go with the meat.

Nigel Salter’s tip that lamb and bacon combine well was the inspiration for the fat in which to fry the cutlets (from The 30 minute Cook)

Simple and delicious lamb cutlets with fresh figs recipe (for two)


  • 4 lamb cutlets
  • 3 slices of streaky bacon
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 4 fresh figs (3 for the sauce and 1 for the garnish)
  • 1 tsp of honey
  • 1 small glass of white wine


  1. Dice the bacon and fry gently until crisp. Set aside the bacon on some kitchen roll to draw off the fat.
  2. Meanwhile slice 3 figs finely. Toss them in a saucepan and add a small glass of white wine. Bring to the boil and simmer until soft. About twenty minutes. Blend using a hand blender and add a tsp of honey. Keep in a warm place.
  3. If you like your chops pink don’t start cooking them until the sauce is well underway. Warm through the bacon fat and add a little olive oil if necessary. Add the thyme sprigs and when the pan is very hot pop in the lamb cutlets. Allow 5 minutes for each side and check, if they are too pink pop a lid on the frying pan and reduce the heat. Check them every two minutes until they are cooked to your liking.
  4. When the chops are ready and rested pour over the sauce and serve with a garnish of thinly sliced figs and a tablespoon of crispy bacon pieces.

I served this with creamed potatoes and fresh runner beans from the garden.

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  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Katyvic

    I’d forgotten this recipe so thanks for the nudge!

    Figs just ripening here.

  2. katyvic

    We have a Brown Turkey fig trained against the garage wall in a very narrow south-facing border which is bone dry. Each year we get an enormous crop, so do persevere. How it survives, let alone fruiting as it does, I’ll never know.

    We are overloaded with figs this year (have picked 40 or so already) and are looking for things to do with them. There’s only so much goats cheese and parma ham (eek!) you can afford in one season!

    Have bottled two small jars in rum syrup (7 figs in each jar) to open at Christmas, and will now be trying your recipe. It sounds great.


  3. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Pat,

    We do have a fig tree but it has outgrown its hlf barrel and rarely produces a fig. Danny has suddenly discovered that he likes figs so we are going to move it into the pond border in early October where I think it will be happier.

    Hi Sheena,

    Thanks for the tip on propagating a fig tree. I am going to try this with mine.

    Hi Joanna,

    The combination of lamb and figs was great. Danny tried a fig with a beef burger last night and it didn’t work at all!

    Hi Celia,

    Our sad old tree is a Brown Turkey. The pond border has restricted space so would be a great new home for it.

  4. Home grown figs are so delicious! Do try to grow one Fiona – Brown Turkey’s the one to get, and make sure you restrict it’s root growth. There’s nothing like the sense of anticipation – will the frost get them? will they ripen? will the blackbirds peck them? It makes the succulent fruit that makes it to the plate that much more special!

  5. This sounds wonderful.

    And Sheena’s tip about rooting a brown fig sounds really good – we have tried and tried growing figs here, but so far haven’t succeeded, and I’m reluctant to spend more money on trees that are going to die quickly … but on the other hand, the best figs are ones straight off the tree …

    Thanks for sharing, both of you


  6. I row my own figs and been eating them since July. Only live a few miles South of you in NW Kent.
    If you know someone with a fig tree take some cuttings and put in a large old plastic milk bottle full of water. Keep topping up with water and they will root.
    Brown turkey figs are easier with a 90% rate of rooting.
    Green Figs (e.g. from Portugal) the sucess rate is about 5%

  7. Fiona, you need a fig tree for your lovely garden. We were given a little tree a few years ago and it is really happy now and giving us some lovely little gems!! We have had two this year. And the little tree has at least half a dozen on it now.

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