I mentioned this briefly in one of my earlier posts, but it’s funny how you take things for granted when you’re younger. Visiting my grandparents in Georgia always involved home-grown blueberries, Granddaddy’s prized wax beans, and fresh figs picked off the tree outside the kitchen window (literally…you didn’t even have to go outside). As a child I never really cared for any of the above, but now? Now I’d do anything to be able to go in the backyard and pick fresh blueberries and figs!
Now that I’ve found a new favorite blueberry recipe (seriously, I’ve made it three times this month), I’ve moved on to the figs. Normally I’d be swimming in them by now, but this year’s monsoon season has really taken a toll on our farmers. Things are showing up a little later than normal, and a little smaller…..or so I thought, until I found these GIGANTIC figs this weekend at the market. I mean, has it just been awhile since I’ve seen one, or are these the biggest figs you’ve ever seen?! Crazy.Fresh figs are literally like nature’s candy to me. Broiled or baked they produce their own syrupy sweetness that is just the best thing ever. Another reason they’re great? You don’t have to do much to make a really delicious, pretty little appetizer! And now I’m going to prove it to you…and I’m not even gonna use measurements so hold on. I’m getting WILD in here, y’all!!
All you’ll need is:
semi-soft goat cheese
honey (buy local honey! it;s great for combating allergies!)
a good balsamic vinegar
freshly cracked black pepper
a tiny bit of olive oil
and of course…FRESH FIGS!
Now I’m calling this “Figs 3 Ways”, but it’s actually kind of looser than that and you could really do any number of combinations even just with this short list of ingredients. I’m going to sort of “mix & match” my ingredients up there and show you three different ways of preparing/serving the figs – fresh, broiled and baked. Confused yet?? You’ll see…
#1 – FRESH FIGS w/ PROSCIUTTO & PEPPERED HONEY
Make your Peppered Honey: Pour some honey into a small bowl or little pitcher. Crack a healthy amount of fresh black pepper into the honey. You can have a heavy hand here because you really want to be able to taste the pepper against the sweetness of the honey. Stir. Voila! Peppered honey. You’re basically a kitchen wizard. Congratulate yourself.
Cut your fresh figs in HALF, or in QUARTERS (if they’re massive like mine). Personally, I like them in quarters regardless because they’re a little easier to eat, especially if you’re serving them at a party (ie – on a toothpick). That way you get a “one bite” appetizer.
Smudge a little bit of your goat cheese on the cut side of your fig (that’s why I suggest using the soft kind…it sort of sticks to it and makes this job less of a balancing act). Wrap a piece of prosciutto around the fig and goat cheese until it overlaps on itself. Drizzle with peppered honey.
Annnnnd you’re DONE! What was that? 3 minutes? Maybe 5? Congratulations. You have time for a glass of wine before you start getting ready.
#2 – BROILED FIGS w/ GOAT CHEESE & PROSCIUTTO
Preheat oven to 500 or turn on your broiler and place your cooking rack as close to the top as it goes.
Cut your figs in half. Smudge some more of that soft goat cheese on top and wrap those bad boys in prosciutto again. This time, stick a toothpick all the way through each one, being sure to secure both the prosciutto and the cheese.
Broil the prosciutto wrapped figs for just about 3-4 minutes, until they turn soft and slightly brown (or you may see your prosciutto start to get crispy). Remove and place on your serving platter. Drizzle with a nice balsamic vinegar. Serve immediately.
Second appetizer – DONE! Just as easy, right? And yet totally different in flavor. I could eat these all day! Now that you have some free time, why don’t you go light some candles and create some ambiance…
#3 – FIG & FONTINA CROSTINI w/ FRESH ARUGULA
Preheat oven to 375.
Slice your crusty bread into manageable sizes for crostini (mine were a bit large). Spread them out onto a cookie sheet, drizzle them all with a little bit of olive oil to help them brown and throw them in the oven for about 8 minutes, or until they get just barely brown around the edges.
Meanwhile, slice your figs into thin slices (about 1/4 to 1/8 of an inch thick). Slice the fontina cheese into slices about the size of your crostini.
When your bread is done, pull it out and place a slice of cheese on top of each piece, then one or two fig slices on top of the cheese. Throw these back into the oven long enough to brown the figs and melt the cheese – about 10 minutes.
When they’re done, place them on a serving platter and top with a few leaves of fresh arugula. You can also drizzle these with more of the peppered honey, or the balsamic, or just leave them plain! They’re delicious all three ways (we tested them all thoroughly). 🙂
And there you have it! Figs 3 ways – fresh with honey to bring out their sweetness, broiled until they’re syrupy sweet then drizzled with the tang of balsamic vinegar, or baked into cheesy goodness and topped with nutty arugula. Any way is sure to please, and all three are equally as easy! So now when you find you’re in need of a little extra time to
pregame get beautiful for your cocktail party, you can throw these together and have tons of time to spare!
MIX & MATCH: These are super easy to mix & match!
– Balsamic drizzled on your fresh figs or Peppered Honey drizzled on your broiled figs (or why not both?!)
– Substitute bleu cheese or feta for the goat cheese
– layer some prosciutto underneath the fontina & figs when you’re building your crostini
– Turn that crostini into a full blown grown-up grilled cheese sandwich or layer it all onto a PIZZA CRUST and top it with fresh arugula once it’s done. Trust me – you won’t regret either of those decisions…