Figs stuffed with goat cheese

Figs and goat cheese are perfect partners

Mark Bittman, the New York Times Minimalist, lured me in once again with this story about grilled figs. I’m never one to turn down the promise of a simple ripe fig, especially when stuffed with cheese, so I snatched up a precious six-pack of organic California Missions at Whole Foods yesterday to try it out.

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.

Warm Figs Stuffed with Goat Cheese
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
6 toothpicks
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.

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Anh said...

Yummy! I love fresh fig prepared this way.

valentinA said...

Beautiful! What a lovely presentation:)
Sweet & savoury make the best combination;)

SteamyKitchen said...

how perfect - i just happen to have figs and gorgonzola in the fridge...making this tonight.
I'll prob have to wrap in tin foil as I don't have either grape nor hydrangea leaves

Deborah Dowd said...

These look delicious and decadent... and thanks forthe tip about hydrangea leaves! I have tons of hydrangeas so I will be putting the leaves to good use!

Stephen said...

Hey Karen. I did figs and chipotle goat cheese for a catering gig I once and people swallowed them up. Good stuff.

How's good old St Louis these days? I miss the BBQ!

swirlingnotions said...

How cool those look with the hydrangea leaves! I just had a "childproofer" here and he put the fear of God in me about hydrangeas, saying they were one of the most poisonous plants out there (must be the blooms). So I'm glad you set me straight on the leaves.

Thanks for stopping by swirlingnotions . . . and for steering me towards SHF!

Karen said...

Anh, agreed.

Thanks Valentina - yes, sweet and savory so good together.

Jaden, the foil will be fine; how nice for you to have those items on hand. That's what I call a gourmet pantry...

Deborah, I love to find stuff like that in my own backyard.

Stephen, chipotle goat cheese and figs sounds like a taste sensation! But sorry to say, I haven't sampled excellent bbq here - maybe you can clue me in!

Swirling Notions - the flowers are poisonous - that's a good thing to remember. Thanks for coming too...

Ivonne said...

Are you kidding me?! These are gorgeous and I'd love to have them for SHF!

Thanks so much for taking part!

Lisa said...

Oh, those look so delectable. Love the hydrangea leaves, too—who knew?

Susan said...

I have been in fig heaven lately, and figs with goat cheese is right up there! Hey, I figure I'd better eat as many as I can before the season's over (which is heart-breakingly short).