Mesclun Salad with Bacon-Wrapped Figs and Chevre

A vacation before going on vacation would be nice — time to pack, stop at Target, fill containers with shampoo and sunscreen, and consume the amazing produce hanging out in our kitchen. Alas, no such luck. Instead, it’s been one big race to wrap up stuff at work and pack. And then there’s the CSA produce I brought home a few days ago….

Among the items to eat in the next 24 hours: figs. I’ve had mixed luck with figs. I’ve tried wrapping them in prosciutto and grilling them, which should have been easy but ended in disaster. Many years ago I baked them in cookies — an adult version of fig newtons, only a thousand times better.

The other day, I set out to make a salad inspired by my friend Georgina. The plan was to wrap the figs in bacon, roast them, add to mixed greens, and toss with blue cheese and balsamic vinaigrette. I altered this approach by a smidgin. We happened to have chevre in our refrigerator. So I used a melon baller to scoop out the flesh and stuffed the figs with goat cheese. And instead of balsamic, I used a red wine vinaigrette.

Wow, figs are beautiful. They’re exotic. And they never last long. I came home from the Fair Shares pickup site with eight of them. A couple were large and sturdy, and pretty easy to  scoop and stuff. The rest were delicate. One fell apart during the scooping process. In the end, they were absolutely scrumptious wrapped in bacon, especially with chevre oozing from them. Brown sugar kept the bacon from over powering the figs.  You could also serve the figs as a hot appetizer.

Mesclun Salad with Bacon-Wrapped Figs and Chevre
Adapted from Gourmet, August 2001

8 bacon slices
8 firm-ripe fresh figs, trimmed and halved lengthwise
4 ounces chevre, or aged goat cheese
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
Vinaigrette for dressing, such as balsamic or red wine

Preheat broiler.

Cook bacon in a large heavy skillet over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until most of fat is rendered but bacon is still pliable, about 10 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain.

Remove 1 scoop of flesh from each fig half with small end of a melon-ball cutter and discard. Scoop cheese with same end of melon-ball cutter and just fill each fig half. Press fig halves together to form whole figs.

Stir together brown sugar, cumin, and salt, then rub onto 1 side of each bacon slice. Wrap 1 bacon slice, sugared side out, around each fig and secure with a toothpick.

Broil figs, bacon sides up, on rack of a broiler pan about 3 inches from heat, turning them frequently, until bacon is browned, about 2 minutes. Cool slightly, then discard toothpicks.

Toss mesclun with vinaigrette and salt and pepper to taste.  Serve figs with salad.

Serves 2 to 4.


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