A blog of hopeful, inspired living: cooking & baking & growing & harvesting & preserving & gleaning & eating & sharing food... while bringing positive change to my kitchen and our food system.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Baked Figs

I LOVE figs.  I was overjoyed to see beautiful baskets of the dark black/purple Mission fig at the farmers' market this past weekend.  Fig recipes are piling high on my coffee table: ice cream, figs stuffed with various treats (see a bonus idea for this, below), salads, pizzas... but today's recipe is nearly as simple as just popping them in your mouth:  Figs topped with a lovely balsamic vinegar and the flavourful (but not too strong) Manchego sheep's milk cheese, baked briefly and eaten warm.  Heavenly.

These are excellent as an appetizer or on the side of ice cream (flavors that come to mind: vanilla, brown sugar, caramel, cream, olive oil)

Thanks to Padma Lakshmi's Tangy, Tart, Hot and Sweet cookbook for the reminder about baking figs this way. 

Baked Figs with Balsamic Vinegar and Manchego Cheese

Figs (Mission is my favorite for this, but feel free to try others), count on at least 2 per person
Balsamic vinegar (if you have a thick, aged variety, or want to make a reduction, go for that -- but any will work)
Manchego cheese (preferable one aged 12 months or more), grated finely, about 1 tablespoon per fig

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F
2. Cut figs in half, lengthwise.
3. Place figs, cut side up, on a baking pan.
4. Drizzle or brush with the balsamic vinegar. I like to brush it on so I make sure it covers the whole fig.
5. Place a teaspoon or so of grated cheese on each fig half.  I like mine cheesy, so I always try to fit a bit more.  
6. Bake for 8 - 10 minutes.  The cheese will melt and start to brown.
7. Remove from oven and serve immediately.  YUM.

I couldn't help eating three, immediately out of the oven, before I took photos...
Another (truly delicious) idea:  Trim the stem off of your fig, cut an X in the top (where you trimmed the stem) and open it up gently from this slit.  Place a small mound of goat or soft-ish blue cheese inside and close the fig again (it's ok if it doesn't really close and the cheese pokes out a bit), drizzle with honey and bake at 350 degrees F for 7 - 9 minutes.  Serve immediately.

1 comment:

  1. oh goodness!!! what a lovely way to end a meal - it would be sweet, salty, nutty, tart and delicious.

    Recommendation accepted - balsamic reduction here I come ;)