If you watch the accompanying video on the NYT website, you’ll see Mr. Bittman standing in the middle of a vineyard in Sonoma while chef Gary Danko prepares his stuffed figs with nothing more than his fingers and a hot grill, conveniently using a freshly plucked grape leaf as a wrapper.
As it happened, there weren’t any fresh grape leaves to be found in my backyard, so I improvised with hydrangea leaves. Did you know they are totally edible? And no, I am not the heir to Euell Gibbons; I picked up that tidbit from Ina Garten – she once decorated a platter of fruit and cheese with her hefty Hampton-sized hydrangea leaves on her TV show. *UPDATE: I feel I should add that even if you feel goofy enough to start seasoning your figs with hydrangea buds or flowers, don’t. They are both poisonous!
Also, since I didn’t want to fire up the grill for a few little figs, I put them under the broiler instead. That worked out just fine and I loved the result: warm fig and slightly oozing, tangy goat cheese balanced with a few drops of salty-sweet soy sauce and balsamic vinegar.
Ivonne, the creator of a very delicious blog, Cream Puffs in Venice, is hosting the Sugar High Friday event for food bloggers this month, featuring figs. This is my contribution, and although it’s not really a “sweet” thing, I couldn’t resist making and sharing this.
adapted from Mark Bittman
makes 6 servings
6 fresh figs
2 tablespoons fresh soft goat cheese
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme, rosemary or other fresh herb
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 large hydrangea leaves or 6 6-inch square pieces of foil
Soy sauce and balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
With a paring knife, gently slice through the stem of each fig and make 3 1/4-inch slits. Pull the cut sides apart, forming a small pocket.
Sprinkle a tiny amount of herbs, salt and pepper into each pocket, followed by a pinch of goat cheese. Wrap figs in leaves, securing with toothpicks, or enclose loosely with foil.
Arrange fig parcels on a small cookie sheet and place under a hot broiler for about 2 minutes, or until leaves start to brown and cheese softens.
Unwrap figs and drizzle very sparingly with a one or two drops soy sauce and vinegar. Serve warm.
More FamilyStyle Figgy Business