Food is like fashion: It comes and goes with time. There are trends that flash then fizzle, and then there are the little black dresses that withstand the passage of time and are considered classic. Figs with goat cheese and prosciutto are in the little black dress category.
The key to timeless food combinations lies in the origin of the ingredients. Figs, goat cheese and prosciutto (or dried, salted meat) are locally grown and produced products hailing from the hills of the Mediterranean, North Africa and the Middle East where the cuisines naturally reflect locally grown and raised food. No fancy accoutrements needed; this is the stuff of slow food. Whether you call it timeless, more-ish, umami, or simply satisfying, the common denominator is it strikes a primal chord in all of us, bringing us back for more.
This recipe showcases the ancient fig, one of the first plants cultivated by humans. Figs are high in calcium, fiber, potassium and contain many antioxidants. Luscious and honeyed, they are delicate in flavor. Their subtle sweetness is an elegant addition to savory dishes such as pizzas and salads, while their mildness adds refinement to desserts, never tipping the sugar point. Classic, understated and refined – all of the makings of timeless food (and good fashion.)
Stuffed Figs with Goat Cheese and Prosciutto
Makes 12 hors-d’ouevres, or serves 6 as a salad course
12 figs, ripe but not too soft
8 oz./240 g. soft goat cheese, room temperature
6 slices prosciutto, sliced in half length-wise
4 large rosemary sprigs, cut in thirds
Extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Rosemary leaves for garnish
Arugula or arugula sprouts
Preheat oven to 350 F. (180 C.)
Cut the figs crosswise from the top, halfway down the fruit. Gently separate the quarters to create an opening. Scoop 2-3 teaspoons goat cheese into the opening, without overstuffing. Wrap each fig with prosciutto slice. Arrange figs on baking tray. Lightly drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top each fig with rosemary sprig. Bake in oven 25 minutes. Remove and discard baked rosemary sprigs.
Arrange figs on serving platter or individual plates. Drizzle each fig with 1 teaspoon honey. Garnish with fresh rosemary leaves. Serve immediately accompanied with fresh baguette slices.
Optional: Arrange figs on bed of arugula, or garnish platter/plates with arugula sprouts.