Monday, August 2, 2010

Figs, Goat Cheese and Sesame with Honey, Balsamic and Red Currants

I am obsessed with all things figs. I will roam the earth, well metro DC area, even consider for a second there driving three and half hours to the Eastern Shore to pick some ripe figs right off someone's tree. I still find it a tad obscure that figs in the DC area will ripen end of August/Beginning of September where on the Eastern shore they are ripe as we speak. It must be the proximity to the water, the breeze, maybe the salty air, or is the soil any different?! Biblical images come to mind when I think of figs right there with ancient olive trees, but funny how I never thought of the figs and ocean blue salt water.
Just like these new images burnt in my mind I incorporated classics Mediterranean with a touch of new. I have goat cheese, honey and figs paired with red currants and balsamic, a fusion of flavors and cultures. I used toasted sesame seeds for a nutty flavor since this is a nut-free blog, but for the tree nut allergic you can also use slivered edemame to count for another fusion of Far East ingredient. Those of you who do not have any allergies use a halved shelled walnut. I made this dish for friends who were over for dinner. Off the bat they were so impressed!! Amazing how simple dish as this evoked much pleasure and rave reviews! Make sure to pick plump firm figs. These ones for lack of local ones hailed from California. You can serve the figs as first course with or without the arugula salad.

Figs, Goat Cheese and Sesame Seeds
Serves 4

Ingredients:

For Figs:
4 figs, halved
Goat cheese, small slices enough to top halved figs (see pic)
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
Honey to drizzle

For salad:
Arugula
Balsamic vinegar
Olive oil
Salt
Pepper

For Currants sauce:
Handful red currants
Honey

Garnish:
Chives, snipped
Handful fresh currants
Few whole chives

Directions:
For figs:
1. Top halved figs with a little of goat cheese and broil in the oven for few five minutes or so. Drizzle with a bit of honey and continue broiling for a minute or two longer. 
2. In a skillet dry toast sesame seeds until golden. Toss frequently and make sure not to burn.
3. Plate two halves of broiled figs on a plate, sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. Drizzle w/more honey if necessary.

For salad:
Drizzle arugula with 1 balsamic vinegar:3 olive oil and touch of honey. Salt and pepper. Plate small handful of arugula next to figs as shown in pic. You can make vinaigrette separately ahead and toss into arugula moments before.

For currants:
Mash handful currants with a fork and add honey to taste drizzle over the figs and salad as shown in pic.

Garnish:
1. Snip scallions with kitchen scissors. Garnish entire plate with chives to add a flavor and dimension to the figs, salad and plate. (see pic again). make sure to garnish figs with chives.
2, Garnish entire plate with whole fresh red currants as well.
3. Garnish salad with long strands of chives
4. You can garnish entire plate with leftover sesame seeds

Note: Can double, triple or make this recipe for a crowd quite easily.

9 comments :

  1. The sweetness of the honey and the tartness of the currants must be fantastic! I'm in love with all of these ingredients and will have to get my hands on some figs to try this out!

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  2. Thank you Brian! It's a great simple, delicious and impressive dish. I hope you will love it as much as I do!

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  3. This looks delicious and is a great combo of ingredients! Thanks for this unique appetizer! I'm new here and so glad to find your blog!

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  4. Thank you Pam. It is lovely. Happy you found my blog as well. Hope you are having a great weekend!

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  5. Looks and sounds beautiful. I found some figs the other day but they were too soft. They are not a common commodity in Denver, well, unless I want to take my Whole Bank Account to Whole Foods!

    But this recipe makes that a search I want to try. Love the combination of fig and goat cheese. Nice!

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  7. Thank you Barbara! Very kind of words! I know what you mean about figs being available. They are quite the commodity. I am tempted to plant a tree in one of my only patches of full sun and see what happens?! In Israel goat cheese and fig is a classic combination.

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  8. Looks incredible. I'm a new fig lover, and now have to make this immediately. Very simple, yet really elegant.

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  9. Thanks Angela. You captured the essence of this dish:).

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