it's summer. and to the average person, the new season signals bathing suits, vacations, humidity & heat. to the cook though, summer is the arrival of flavors we wait all year for: corn, peaches, figs, berries, melons, tomatoes, and much, much more. as someone who cooks with the seasons, i look forward to the recipes i can only make during these few months. for months i have been craving figs and to my delight, they have finally arrived in all their erotic sweetness and lushness. i realize there are a lot of people out there who are still fig-virgins. i think fig newtons probably ruined figs for a good many of us. that processed paste is not what a fig is about. one of the most erotic fruits i've encountered (adam and eve knew what they were doing with that fig leaf or not doing with that fig leaf), biting into a ripe fig evokes the fertile images of a georgia o'keefe painting and releases a subtle sweetness that just melts over my palate. and this subtle sweetness blends so well with many other flavors that i couldn't resist building a new recipe around the fig, so i present to you my roasted fig and proscuitto bruschetta. make it at your next party. it'll be a hit. i've already served it at two dinner parties, and with my fig craving still going strong, i'm sure i'll find an excuse to make it again soon.
roasted fig with vanilla sea salt and proscuitto bruschetta
1 loaf of ciabatta
2 tbs. of olive oil for brushing bread
6 ripe figs
1 tbs. of almond oil for brushing figs
1 tsp. vanilla sea salt (or sea salt)2 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup of marscapone cheese
12 slices of proscuitto
2 tbs. of balsamic vinegar
1 tbs. olive oil for vinaigrette
4 leaves of radicchio, sliced thinly (chiffonade)
4 leaves of basil, sliced thinly (chiffonade)
preheat oven to 425 degrees. slice loaf of bread on the bias into 1/3rd inch thick slices and place on foil lined baking sheet. lightly coat with olive oil. cut figs in half and place on another foil lined baking sheet. lightly coat with almond oil and then sprinkle with sea salt over open side of figs. place both bread and figs in the oven and toast/roast for about 12 minutes. cut garlic cloves in half and rub the sliced side against the toasts to produce a subtle garlic flavor.
lightly spread marscapone cheese onto the toasted bread. drape a slice of proscuitto over each toast. whisk olive oil and balsamic vinegar together. use half of the balsamic vinaigrette to dress the radicchio. sprinkle a few slivers of radicchio onto each piece of bruschetta. top with roasted fig. drizzle the remaining vinaigrette onto each fig and top with basil.
the saltiness of the proscuitto, creaminess of the marscapone, crispness of the bread, sweet lushness of the fig, spiciness of the radicchio, earthiness of the basil and the tartness of the balsamic vinaigrette = a flavor combination you will crave forever and ever.
now you tell me what you're craving this summer (besides a hot beach bod) . . .