It was one of those San Francisco evenings when the fog comes in disguised as a light mist. Easier to feel than see, I could hear its tiny sizzle as it slowly floated down onto my quickly dying coals.
The flank steak had been grilled and was resting, but my work was not over. I had fresh figs to grill before the damp evening claimed my fire. Not just any figs; deep dark purple, perfectly ripe, sweet and juicy Mission figs.
A drip of olive oil moistening their soft skins, on the grill they went. As the heat from the glowing embers began to expand the soft interiors, the surface of the figs tightened and became shiny. Soon small cracks appeared, and the sound of their sweet syrup dripping into the coals told me they were done.
Back inside the steak was sliced thin and scattered atop a tangle of wild arugula. The still warm figs joined the plate, as did a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette. A grind of black pepper and pinch of sea salt were the only garnishes needed. We ate in smiling silence as the fog disappeared into the darkness. There is no video record of this extraordinary meal. Some things are better left to the mind’s eye.