“Figs in my locker. Four of them, in a small brown basket. They were gilded like an offering……when my shift was over I put them gently in my purse. I felt like I had stolen something…I had figs and an entire evening….. What goes well with figs?….’In my personal opinion, the wine should never get in the way.’ He poured the crémant rosé into a to-go coffee cup”
Sweet Bitter, Stephanie Danler
A couple of months ago I went to a Bordeaux tasting evening at The Watership Down Inn in Hampshire.
The Château Mingets, a 2010 sauternes, served with the pud at the end of the meal was interesting, but the real revelation was the amuse bouche served at the beginning.
This was a ‘baked whole fig with goats’ cheese wrapped in Parma ham with a balsamic reduction’. The mix of the sweet fig and the saltiness of the cheese and the ham was wonderful.
As canapés to serve with drinks I thought it was a bit big, unless you have a truly giant mouth, so I’ve developed a different version. The good thing about these canapés is that they can be made ahead and won’t go soggy in the way that crostini do. I’m not sure what sort of cheese was used at The Watership Down Inn, but I have used Riblaire. And instead of bothering to reduce the vinegar I simply either use the excellent eight year old balsamic vinegar supplied by the Fresh Olive Company which already has an ‘opulent viscosity’ as the suppliers describe it, or I use pomegranate molasses.
If you want a starter which incorporates the fig and goats’ cheese concept, follow this link.
Serve these, as suggested in the quote above, with sparkling rosé – try Cottonworth for example.
This is how I make these little parcels of flavour:
Recipe for sweet and salty fig and goats’ cheese canapés
Preheat the oven to about 210°C
- Quarter the figs
- Put an amount of goat’s cheese about the same size at the quarter fig together with it
- Wrap in Parma ham… make others the same
- Put on an oiled baking tray and drizzle with the thick balsamic vinegar
- Roast for about five minutes