When figs are in season, I find myself throwing together this nibble two or three times a week. The idea came from Ben Barker, chef-proprietor of the Magnolia Grill in Durham, North Carolina. I also swiped a thing or two from Frank Stitt, chef-proprietor of Highlands Restaurant in Birmingham, Alabama.
Most figs done this way use prosciutto, but I find I prefer a thinly sliced country ham, especially one from Benton’s Ham Shop in Madisonville, Tennessee. The Point Reyes blue cheese has character without being overly bold. If you’re a true blue cheese freak, you might prefer a Maytag. In other words, put these figs together to your taste. I tend to use them as finger foods but you could certainly serve three halves over a bed of dressed lettuces as a first course.–Fred Thompson
Grilled Fresh Figs with Country Ham Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 30 M
- 1 H, 30 M
- Serves 10 to 12
- 18 fresh Mission or Brown Turkey figs
- 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 4 ounces Point Reyes Farmstead “Original Blue” cheese, at room temperature
- 4 ounces mascarpone, at room temperature
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 6 ounces thinly sliced country ham or prosciutto
- Oil, for coating the grill
- 1. Slice the figs in half lengthwise. Using a grapefruit spoon, remove a bit of the inside flesh from each and place in a bowl.
- 2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, cook the vinegar until it is reduced to about 6 tablespoons and syrupy. Let cool and keep at room temperature.
- 3. Add the blue cheese and mascarpone to the bowl with the fig flesh and mix well. Season generously with pepper and stir to combine.
- 4. Take each fig and stuff with about 1 tablespoon of the cheese mixture. Wrap a piece of ham around the fig and cheese. Place on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about 1 hour or up to 4 hours.
- 5. Light a charcoal fire or preheat your gas grill on high. Oil the grill’s cooking surface. Let the coals burn down to a medium-hot fire or adjust the gas grill burners to medium-high.
- 6. Place the figs on the grill cut side up. Cook until the ham is a bit crispy and the figs are warm, about 5 minutes. Remove to platter and drizzle with the balsamic syrup. Serve immediately.
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Grilled Fresh Figs with Country Ham Recipe © 2007 Fred Thompson. Photo © 2007 Brian Hagiwara. All rights reserved.