Okay, I finally succumbed and splurged on some figs. At A$3 each (I bought 4), they weren’t exactly the cheapest fruit but I just had to get some! It’s strange – actually more an abomination since I forked out so much money – that these fruit cost the earth. I guess it’s to do with the fact that they are fragile and easily bruised. You can’t harvest them with a machine like apples or oranges. At least I don’t think so. Everytime I drive by a fig tree with fruit ready for the picking, I’m filled with jealousy and my thoughts turn into those of a thief, wondering when I could return and steal some before the darn birds get to them. My sister does have a tree in her backyard and has given me some before because she doesn’t like them! Well, I’m not complaining… Trouble is, I’ve recently moved to another state.
If I had some blue cheese around I would not have hesitated for one moment and eaten the two together. Figs with blue cheese is a classic combination and the flavour of the two is just divine. Another classic partner of figs is prosciutto. The cheese I did have was mascarpone. Some quick research work yielded some simple recipes which utilised this with figs. A few recipes included a balsamic vinegar reduction which sounded fantastic.
Grilled figs with mascarpone and balsamic vinegar
4 large, or 8 small, ripe figs
100ml balsamic vinegar
Preheat grill. Wash and pat dry the figs. Make two perpendicular cuts in the form of an X halfway into each fig. Place on baking paper and grill for 2-3 minutes until figs are nice and soft but not mushy. Transfer to a serving plate. At this stage, you can continue the cuts almost all the way down to the base so the figs open up like a flower. Or leave the figs like I did.
Pour the balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low. Continue simmering until reduced to a third.
Scoop mascarpone onto plate and drizzle balsamic reduction around. You could also spread mascarpone on top of the figs if they were cut into a flower shape.
I liked the flavour combinations here a lot. The sweetness of the figs was tempered by the acidity of the balsamic reduction and the mascarpone added richness. For me, the grilling didn’t add anything special. Next time, I would just have the figs fresh.