Roasted Fig Crostini

Roasted Fig Crostini

Fig tf

Oh, how I want to love figs. I am attracted to their shape and color, perfectly plump little bulbs, striated in violets and yellows, or hued in light green and dark purple. Soft and sensual to the touch and mildly aromatic, perhaps it’s their mildness that confounds me. Faintly sweet, yet nutty and vegetal, I find the fig elusive in flavor, its softness shrouding it like a mysterious woman in a cloak. I know there is more to the fig, and I want to discover it. I want to love it.

So, I found a ploy, or really a method, to reveal its secrets. By roasting figs in the oven, their taste and texture take on a whole new dimension. The fruit is coaxed from its shroud of vagueness, its natural sugars oozing and caramelizing, while its plumpness is reduced to a crispy intensity that bursts with flavor. There is no coyness or ambiguity with a roasted fig. It’s sweetness and articulated flavor is a perfect match with other ingredients, such as goat cheese and basil. Try it, you’ll like it. In fact, you will love it.

Roasted Fig Crostini

Makes 8

Extra-virgin olive oil
4 figs, sliced lengthwise, 1/4-inch thick
8 slices of baguette, cut on the diagonal, 1/2-inch thick
6 ounces soft mild goat cheese
Runny honey
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
8 whole basil leaves

Preheat oven to 400 F. (200 C.)
Lightly oil baking tray. Arrange fig slices in one layer. Lightly brush tops with olive oil. Bake in oven until bubbly and beginning to caramelize, about 20 minutes. While figs are roasting, brush baguette slices with olive oil. Arrange on another baking tray in one layer. Bake in same oven until golden brown, about 10 minutes. To assemble crostini, spread baguette slices with goat cheese. Arrange 1-2 figs over cheese in one layer. Lightly drizzle with honey. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with a basil leaf. Serve immediately.

Prosciutto, Fig, Arugula and Goat Cheese Roll-ups with Honey

Prosciutto Fig

It’s November and there are baskets of figs for sale in our market.  As a transplant from northern Europe, I find this positively decadent.  I was shopping yesterday for an autumn dinner, thinking of apples, braising meat, a turnip or two. I rounded the corner in the produce department, and there they were:  baskets and baskets of plump purpley-green tinged figs  And they didn’t even look sad or weary from lengthy storage or intercontinental jet travel.  These were the real ripe deal – all perky, fresh and plump.  So, of course, I had to have them.

FIgs and Prosciutto
And this is what I made with what I had at home in my refrigerator:

Prosciutto, Fig, Arugula and Goat Cheese Roll-ups with Honey
Makes 16

8 slices prosciutto, cut in half horizontally
8 small figs, halved or 4 large figs, quartered
2 cups arugula leaves, washed and dried
1/3 cup soft mild goat cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
Runny honey

Lay prosciutto slice on work surface.  Arrange 1-2 fresh arugula leaves at one end.  Place fig on top of arugula.  Spoon one teaspoon goat cheese over fig and arugula.  Sprinkle with a pinch of pepper.  Roll up prosciutto from end with fig.  Arrange on serving plate.  Repeat with remaining ingredients. (Roll-ups can be prepared 3 hours ahead of serving.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate.  Allow to come to room temperature before serving.)  Lightly drizzle honey over roll-ups before serving.