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Fig recipes

August 17, 2006

These two appetizers are based on recipes from the wonderfully inventive Italian chef, Mario Batali. We have pictured them together on a plate of Prosciutto because we couldn’t decide which one was more delicious and made them both. The pecans enhance the salad, and we prefer them to the traditional walnuts Mario uses. My friend and assistant, Judy Bernstein adapted and rewrote them

Prosciutto with Baked Stuffed Figs
Makes 4 Servings


12 ripe figs, stems removed
6 ounces blue cheese, at room temperature (we used Clemson Blue but you could use Saga, Gorgonzola, or any other strong blue)
2 tablespoons finely chopped pecans
½ cup finely chopped Italian parsley
4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Cut an X in the top of each fig, leaving them attached at the base. Move to an ungreased baking sheet, and gently open them out with your fingers. Mix together the blue cheese, pecans, and parsley until well blended. Gently stuff each fig with ¼ of the filling, using a small spoon or large piping bag. Bake the figs for 8 to 10 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling.

While the figs are baking, lay 3 or 4 slices of Prosciutto on each of four plates. Place 3 figs in the center of each plate and serve immediately.


Proscuitto with Grilled Figs
Makes 4 Servings

12 ripe figs, stems removed and cut in half
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 ounces prosciutto, sliced paper-thin

Preheat the grill or broiler.

Toss 12 of the fig halves with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, being sure to coat them all. Place the figs cut side down on the grill or cut side up on a baking sheet under the broiler and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until lightly charred. Transfer the figs to a place and allow to cool.

When ready to serve, combine the grilled figs, the 12 halves of uncooked figs and the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Use your hands to toss them gently so as not to break up the grilled figs.

Arrange the prosciutto on 4 plates. Pile ¼ of the fig salad on top of each plate of prosciutto and serve.


Fig and Peanut Salad
Makes 4 Servings

We used home grown wild arugula in this dish, but of course the store bought is fine. The balsamic vinegar we used was a Luccini, available in most grocery stores, not an expensive older one.


12 ripe figs, stems removed
1 shallot, finely minced
4 mint sprigs, finely chopped (with additional whole sprigs for garnish, if desired)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
¼ cup vegetable oil
kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 bunch arugula, trimmed, washed and dried
4 cups mache or 1 head Bibb lettuce, cored, washed, and dried
¾ cup toasted, salted peanuts
Mint (optional)

Slice each fig crosswise into quarters or eighths, depending on the size of the figs and set aside.

Combine the shallot, chopped mint, and vinegar in a small bowl. Whisk in the oil and season with salt and pepper.

Combine the greens in a large bowl and toss with half of the vinaigrette. Arrange the salad on plates and top with figs and peanuts. Drizzle the rest of the vinaigrette over figs and peanuts. Garnish with mint sprigs, if desired.



Baked Figs and Fennel (with duck, pork or lamb)
Makes 4 Servings



We served this side dish with pan seared duck breasts but you could also use grilled pork tenderloins or grilled lamb chops. It was so delicious we couldn’t stop eating it. We purchased frozen duck breasts from Burbage’s grocery store and defrosted them in the microwave before searing and cooking, skin side first, in a non-stick frying pan.


4 small fennel bulbs, sliced
6 large ripe figs, quartered or 12 small ripe figs, halved, stems removed
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Sea salt and cracked black pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking pan with parchment paper or foil. Place the figs and fennel on the pan.

Combine the oil, vinegar, brown sugar, salt and pepper. Pour over the fennel and figs and bake for 20 minutes, until tender and browned.

Remove fennel and figs to a large platter and drizzle with the pan juices



Here are two very similar desserts. One is served warm (Baked Figs with Mascarpone) and the other cold (Baked Figs with Crème Fraiche). Both create delicious sauces in the baking process and will linger in your memory for a long time.

Baked Figs with Mascarpone
Makes 4 Servings

Mascarpone is an Italian cream cheese. If none is available, use heavy whipping cream, beaten to a firm peak.

6 tablespoons sugar
½ cup water
½ cup sweet or dry Marsala wine
8 large ripe figs, stems removed
6 tablespoons (2 ounces) mascarpone cheese
6 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon sugar
Muscavado, Turbinado or sifted brown sugar for garnish (optional0

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan, cover, and boil until sugar is dissolved and the syrup is reduce to ¼ cup (about 5 minutes). Stir in the Marsala wine.

Cut an X in each fig, leaving them attached at the base. Place in a shallow baking dish and gently push open each fig. Spoon the Marsala syrup over the figs. Bake until figs are tender, about 20 minutes.

Mash together the mascarpone cheese, cream, and sugar.

When figs are done, place fig and pan sauce in a serving bowl and dab some of the cheese mixture into the center of each fig. Garnish with a light sprinkling of Muscavado. Turbinado,or sifted brown sugar. Pass the remaining cheese mixture so guests may help themselves.


Baked Figs with Crème Fraiche
Makes 4 Servings

Crème fraiche is a thickened cream much like a cross between sour cream and whipping cream, available in the specialty dairy sections of grocery stores. You may make a reasonable substitute by combining sour cream and whipping cream, leaving at room temperature to thicken for 12 hours or so, and then refrigerating overnight. It is best made several days in advance

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
12 small ripe figs, stems removed
4 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon water
½ cup pecan halves
1 tablespoon honey (we used Orange Blossom Honey)
Juice of 1 lemon
½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
Crème Fraiche or whipping cream

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Butter a shallow, flameproof baking dish (like Le Creuset). Place the figs in the dish with the stem-side up. Sprinkle with the sugar and water. Bake for 20 minutes.

Add the pecans and lower the oven temperature to 300 degrees. Bake 10 minutes longer.

Carefully transfer figs and pecans to a serving dish. Add honey and lemon juice to cooking juices. Set on top of stove and cook over low heat to blend. Spoon syrup over figs and sprinkle with pepper. Refrigerate.

Serve cold with dollops of crème fraiche or whipping cream.

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Layered, fluffy, feathery, silky, soft, and velvety biscuits all come together in Southern Biscuits, a book of recipes and baking secrets for every biscuit imaginable.
The magical combination of shrimp and grits, whether for pre-dawn breakfast on a shrimp boat or as an entrée in the finest New York restaurant can be deliriously wonderful.
A beautiful book, winner of the James Beard Award for Entertaining, that will help the novice and the experienced alike.
The best of traditional Southern cooking, as well as innovative, new cuisine.
This book will be a keepsake for anyone with Southern roots, and a practical book for those who like to cook! A winner of the 1994 James Beard Award.
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