Figs. Ugh, I can’t even…but really…I absolutely can. Fresh figs are one of, if not the most, amazing produce selections Mother Earth has to offer. One time Henry and I took a trip to San Diego and his friend had a fig tree in his backyard. I’m pretty sure I spent most of the visit there just eyeing the tree with jealous envy. I don’t know why or when I developed this burning desire for fresh figs. Perhaps it’s because the availability on the East Coast is so shotty or maybe I just ate too many Fig Newton’s as a kid (probably.) Granted fresh figs and fig newtons are two totally different flavors and textures – still delicious. So forgive me for all my gushing about this sweet little treat, but it’s fig time.
During the holiday season it’s always clutch to have a back-pocket, easy peasy recipe you can whip up for a last minute gathering or afternoon with family. If you’re part of the “can’t show up empty handed” club, bringing a plate of these sweet and savory bites will have your hosts welcoming you with open arms. Slice the figs in half, layer on some creamy Gorgonzola, wrap with prosciutto, bake for 5 minutes and call. it. a. day.
The figs should be slightly soft and tender but if they’re very ripe you’ll want to keep a close eye while baking so they don’t come out mushy. Blue cheese can be substituted for Gorgonzola if need be, but the Gorgonzola is a bit more mild in blue cheese flavor so it doesn’t over power the fig flavor and melts just a bit easier. And the prosciutto should be sliced very thin so it will crisp up quickly without becoming a tough texture, and wrapped around the entire fig (ends exposed) locking in the cheese. The end result should yield a warm and tender, sweet fig with creamy and tangy Gorgonzola and crisp, salty prosciutto.
The balsamic reduction does add a little complexity to the recipe, this can be easily resolved by purchasing balsamic glaze or an aged balsamic vinegar. Balsamic glaze with provide a thick and sweet balsamic flavor where reduced balsamic vinegar with concentrate the naturally sweet balsamic flavor removing the harsh acidity without the addition of lots of sugar. It’s very simple to make by cooking down balsamic vinegar over very low heat until the vinegar starts to thicken, but is also easy to burn if you try to rush the process. So if you don’t have the time or patience, just get on the glaze. What’s one more condiment on the fridge, right?!
- 9-count package (8 ounces) fresh figs
- ¼ pound imported prosciutto, thinly sliced
- 4 ounces gorgonzola cheese
- 2 tablespoons balsamic reduction
- Gently clean figs, remove stem and slice each in half lengthwise.
- Stack gorgonzola cheese pieces on each half fig.
- Wrap fig and gorgonzola with thinly sliced prosciutto all the way around.
- Arrange on a baking sheet and bake at 375F for 5 minutes, cheese should be soft and prosciutto has begun to crisp.
- Drizzle with balsamic reduction.
- In a saucepan, heat 3 tablespoons good quality balsamic vinegar over very low heat.
- Cook for 10-15 minutes or until the vinegar has started to thicken.