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Grilled Figs with Goat Cheese & Mint

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Serves four.

  • To learn more, read:
    Cooking Fruit with Fire
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 40

Pancetta is cured Italian bacon; unlike American bacon, it isn’t smoked. You’ll find it at specialty stores, Italian markets, and some supermarkets. Don’t use American bacon: It takes too long to crisp on the grill.

  • 1/2 cup (3-1/2 to 4 oz.) soft fresh goat cheese
  • 2 Tbs. fresh breadcrumbs
  • About 6 mint leaves, stacked, rolled into a cylinder, and cut into thin strips
  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 fresh Mission figs
  • 12 very thin slices pancetta (1/16 inch or less)
  • 1 Tbs. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. very finely chopped fresh thyme (optional)

In a small bowl, combine the goat cheese, breadcrumbs, mint, and parsley; season with salt and pepper. Cut the figs nearly in half lengthwise, keeping them attached at the broad end. Hollow the center slightly with your thumb. Stuff each fig with about 1 tsp. of the goat cheese mixture and squeeze very gently to close.

Grilled Figs with Goat Cheese & Mint Recipe
Hollow a split fig with your thumb and then add a teaspoonful of filling.

Wrap a slice of pancetta around each fig, overlapping with each revolution. Don’t wrap the pancetta too tightly or you’ll force the filling out or cause the figs to split. Cover the figs with plastic wrap and refrigerate (up to 1 day ahead) until ready to grill.

Grilled Figs with Goat Cheese & Mint Recipe
Wrap up the figs, but not too tightly. Be sure the pancetta is very thinly sliced so it stays on the fig and cooks before the fruit and filling become too mushy.

Grill the figs over a moderately hot fire to crisp the pancetta and to warm the figs and cheese, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the figs to a serving dish. Combine the honey and thyme, if using, and drizzle over the figs. Serve with good, crusty bread.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 260; Fat (g): fat g 9; Fat Calories (kcal): 80; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 5; Protein (g): protein g 13; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 3; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 35; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 700; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 30; Fiber (g): fiber g 5;

Photo: Judi Rutz

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