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Fresh Figs

August 31, 2000|JESSICA STRAND

This sumptuous fruit comes in a wide variety of colors and flavors.

* Lucques: At lunch, a salad mixes baby arugula with Spanish blue cheese, lightly candied walnuts and sliced figs in a balsamic vinegar and macerated fig dressing. (Arugula and fresh fig salad, $6.) Lucques, 8474 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, (323) 655-6277.

* Water Grill: For the classic French appetizer foie gras a torchon, foie gras is delicately poached in linen and served with whole Mission figs soaked in Port, dressed in a reduction of the Port and fig juice. (Foie gras a torchon, $22.) Water Grill, 544 S Grand Ave., L.A., (213) 891-0900.

* JiRaffe: You might find one of these on special: an appetizer of foie gras braised in 10-year-old Port and covered with pistachios and figs, or a main dish of duck breast and roasted figs served on polenta in a fig and tart grape juice sauce. (Mission figs with pistachio-crusted foie gras, $16; slivered duck breast with roasted figs and creamy polenta, $26.) JiRaffe, 502 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, (310) 917-6671.

* Tuscany Il Ristorante: Here you'll find true Italian figs, Bella Rosas, with very sweet red-purple flesh. They're peeled and covered with paper-thin Italian prosciutto, or made into a compote with grapes to go with a selection of Italian cheeses. (Fresh figs and prosciutto, $9; Italian cheeses, $8.) Tuscany Il Ristorante, Westlake Plaza Center, 968 S. Westlake Blvd., Westlake Village, (805) 495-2768.

* Troquet: Chef Jeff Armstrong uses figs in three specials: sauteed foie gras tossed with roasted figs, apple-smoked bacon and aged balsamic vinegar; figs and prosciutto dressed with Port reduction and lemon oil, topped with shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano; "Fig Newton"--homemade graham crackers filled with figs and berries, served with Brown Turkey fig ice cream. (Sauteed foie gras with roasted figs, $17; fig and prosciutto salad, $9.50; "Fig Newton," $8.50.) Troquet, South Coast Plaza, 3333 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, (714) 708-6865.

* Campanile: Have the appetizer of Brown Turkey figs, sweet Gorgonzola and thinly sliced prosciutto, or a fig dessert, ga^teau Basque--puff pastry, pastry cream, almond cream and caramelized figs--served with bitter almond ice cream. (Brown Turkey figs, sweet Gorgonzola and prosciutto, $16; ga^teau Basque, $9.) Campanile, 624 S. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 938-1447.

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