Fall has landed in the Midwest with a pumpkinny thump. Halloween is still over a month away but every sort of pumpkin, squash and gourd has arrived at the grocery stores and farmer's markets like some sort of freakish, lumpy orange flood. Plenty of time to play with pumpkins, this week was meant to enjoy another fall favorite, the fig. Now if you're like me, the only memory you have of figs was this:
Fig Newton cookies. You know, the depressing cookie you got instead of the fun cookies like Oreos or Chips Ahoy. Some sort of weird cake thing with supposedly fruit filling except it had little crunchy bits that had a mouth feel like beetle carcasses. So no generational fig dish recipes for me to dig through. Luckily the internet and Epicurious had a lot of great choices for what to do with figs.
First, of course, was to caress them with my camera. They are incredibly beautiful. There were three types of fig available at least in my neck of the woods. The black Mission figs were the most abundant. Why called Mission figs? They were cultivated by Franciscan monks in San Diego back in 1768. There are also the brown turkey figs and white figs (actually more green than white) but for the recipe today the Mission figs will do.
The recipe I chose was very much in the theme of the traditional salty/sweet treatment of figs. Fresh Figs with Bacon and Goat Cheese. Really very simple, fry some bacon, cut your figs, brush with a good quality balsamic vinegar, put little chunks of bacon on top of the fig and then add a nugget of goat cheese and pop them in the oven so the figs roast just a bit and the cheese gets toasty. This recipe suggests the herb infused goat cheese but I got the plain and mixed up a little clover honey to add a little more sweetness to the layering of this recipe.