We are in the prime time of the second wave of figs here, which means that the normally pricey fruit is more than affordable for those that don’t normally splurge on costly fresh produce. Because it’s prime time for harvesting they are not only significantly less expensive than normal but are wonderfully ripe, sweet, and juicy-just as they should be. My local grocery store had a great sale on them last week so I couldn’t resist picking a few up while they are still plentiful and cheap.

For some odd reason when I think of how I want to prepare figs, my mind automatically goes to the savory side- as it does in many cases. In this particular instance my mind went straight to goat cheese; lucky for me we had quite a bit left over from this salad I made last week. Something about the super sweet stickiness that comes from the fig and the tangy creaminess of the goat cheese makes for a match made in food heaven.

My goal this fall is to come up with a plethora of new appetizers and small bites so my next thought immediately went to a nice crisp crostini as the vessel for this duo. While this is a pretty common combination I punched up the flavor by drizzling reduced balsamic vinegar and sprinkling with a little fried rosemary. What results is a crazy delicious and easy hors d’oeuvre that screams elegance.

Heat a small saucepan with just a little bit of canola oil to a medium high heat about 350 degrees. Drop rosemary in..Stand back! The oil is going to go a little crazy on you. Don’t worry, it’s completely normal. Scary but normal. *If you have kids make sure they are not near the stove.

Have you ever tried reduced balsamic vinegar? If you haven’t, you’re definitely missing out my friend. When it’s reduced just a little bit it becomes a syrupy sugary liquid candy that can’t be resisted. It’s also wonderfully decadent drizzled warm over ice cream, used as a sauce for grilled chicken, or even drizzled over grilled stone fruit.  Mmm…

Fig Crostini with Goat Cheese, Fried Thyme and Balsamic Reduction

Makes about 32-40 crostini using a 16 inch baguette

1 baguette sliced into ¼-1/2 inch slices (depending on preference)

1 pound figs, sliced

8 ounces goat cheese, softened

6 sprigs of rosemary, stems removed

1 cup balsamic vinegar

Salt & Pepper

Preparation: Toast crostini in a 325 degree oven for 8-10 minutes. Fill a small saucepan or sauté pan with enough canola oil for the rosemary to fry in. Heat to medium- medium high or until oil reaches 350 degrees. . (I used a ½ qt saucepan and about a 1/4 of oil.)  Quickly drop in rosemary and let fry for 5-10 seconds. Remove, drain on paper towels.  Clean pan.  Pour balsamic vinegar into clean saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer about five minutes until vinegar is thickened and syrupy.

Assembly: Spread goat cheese on crostini slices, top with figs. Return to oven for about five minutes or until goat cheese starts to melt. Remove, sprinkle crostini with fried rosemary and drizzle balsamic reduction. Season with salt and pepper. Can be served warm or at room temperature.

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