Fresh figstake on asilky texture whencooked; served with a port sauce and gelato, they make a lovely summer dessert.
Preheat broiler. In a large heavy ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter; sprinkle with sugar. Add figs to skillet, and stir gently to combine. Season with pepper. Turn figs cut side up, and place skillet under the broiler until the figs are browned around the edges, about 4 minutes.
Remove from broiler, and carefully pour port over figs. Ignite with a match. When flame subsides, transfer figs to a plate with a slotted spoon; set aside. Return skillet to medium-high heat, and reduce liquid until thick and syrupy, by about one-half. Remove from heat, and return figs to skillet. Spoon syrup over figs to coat. Spoon figs and syrup over gelato, dividing evenly, and serve.