Without A Recipe: Figs

FigsCeleste

 

Little bites of heaven, figs are a true seasonal pleasure. Because of their natural sugars, they caramelize easily so they’re absolute perfection whether charred on the grill, oven-roasted, or broiled! But don’t be fooled into thinking this luscious summer delight is high maintenance, it makes a great raw-ingredient addition to salads, sandwiches, and snack plates as well.

The perfect party snack: Slice an “X” at the top of the fig not quite all the way through to the bottom. Place on a baking sheet and stuff each fig with your favorite fresh or stinky cheese, any will do (Blue Cheese? Check! Chevre? Definitely! Brie? You bet!). Finish each with a drizzle of honey and fresh cracked pepper. Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is soft and figs are warm.

Roasting chicken? Do it over figs! Just place the figs and shallot (or onion) underneath the chicken on the pan while it’s roasting. The figs and shallot/onion will absorb all kinds of tasty juices released from the bird while in the oven.

Grilled figs are a truly decadent way to add flavor and color to almost any plate. Put figs on a skewer (if using wood, soak skewer for 20 minutes first), and place over direct heat on your grill, turning often until figs are soft and hot. Serve alongside pork loin or lamb chops, to accompany a cheese plate, or even with vanilla ice cream as a special summer treat! (Pssst…try replacing the skewer with a stick of rosemary, it’ll add a nice, subtle herbaceous flavor!)

Roasted Pancetta & Fig Salad: On a baking sheet with parchment, place pancetta and halved figs. Sprinkle with fresh black pepper. Place in 415F oven 15 or so minutes, turning once.  Remove and toss with salad greens (we love figs with watercress or arugula especially) and chopped cantaloupe. Finish with balsamic and olive oil and season to taste.

Chocolate-covered figs are an instant crowd-pleaser. Cut a slit down the side of each fig, stuff with almonds or walnuts and dip in melted semi-sweet chocolate. Place figs on wax paper on a plate or cookie sheet and and allow chocolate to harden before serving.

Pair any of the following ingredients to mix a quick salad, top a pizza, build a sandwich, or pile on crostini –you can’t go wrong!

Pancetta/bacon/prosciutto/soppressata/capicola, honey, arugula/watercress, ricotta/blue cheese/chevre/parmesan/marscapone, toasted walnuts/pistachios/almonds, fresh herbs, cinnamon, brown sugar, golden raisins, balsamic vinegar, & black pepper.

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