Thursday, August 15, 2013

Fig Crostini Trifecta | Friday Night Bites


My adoration with figs continues.  A new fig season begins and many recipes to be made with these purple little gems.  One day soon I will be setting aside time to make 60 plus jars of Balsamic Fig Jam to have for gifts and of course for personal enjoyment.  Thinking about it now, I will probably lean on the side of making more than sixty.  It is actually quite simple to make – I just need to secure the time.

When I spied figs at Trader Joe’s a few weeks ago, I knew the window had opened but before I know it, that window will close.  The time is now – carpe diem.  Don’t be shocked if you see several upcoming posts featuring figs.  The most common figs on the market are the Brown Turkey and Mission figs.  You may see both green and purple figs, which both taste similar but visually quite dissimilar. 

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On Saturday, I am throwing a small dinner party and I am in the process of finalizing the menu.  I have confirmed that the Fig Crostini Trifecta will be our starting course.  These were a Friday Night Bite special and incredibly tasty that they are making a repeat performance this weekend.  I believe my guests will devour them.  For our first course, I am preparing my infamous crab cakes served with tomato chutney.  Next will be the main event - Pomegranate-Merlot Braised Lamb Shanks that will cook slowly all day in my All-Clad Slow Cooker.  I actually purchased the slow cooker last year and it is still in the box.  Thought it was about darn time to crack open the box. Smile.  Honestly, I can’t decide on a dessert.  Any brilliant ideas? 


Let’s talk about these fig crostinis.  For whatever reason, I love the word – trifecta.  It just rolls off the tongue and I had it stuck in my head, which led to the creation of the Fig Crostini Trifecta.  Sometimes my mind works in mysterious ways through the creative process. A Crostini has to be one of the simplest yet versatile appetizers you can make.  The combination of toppings are infinite.  I chose ingredients that were natural pairings with figs and swung out a bit with the Arugula walnut pesto, but it completely works.


I found that I could assemble these an hour before serving without the Crostini becoming soggy – a great thing indeed.  A magnificent tip for effortless entertaining is to select recipes that you can make ahead with ease in preparation – that way you have time to spend with your guests.  I typically set a goal for myself to be 100% ready 30 minutes prior to my guests arriving and relaxing with a glass of wine.  I use an entertaining checklist that encompasses my menu, shopping list, cooking & preparation timeline, table setting, house cleaning along with any final touches.

Looking forward to my dinner party on Saturday and will send out some pics via instagram to share with all of you.  In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the Fig Crostini Trifecta.


Herb and Garlic Cheese, Balsamic Fig Jam and Fig Crostini

Makes 12

1 baguette, 12 half inch slices
Olive oil
Salt
4 to 6 ounces creamy herb and garlic cheese
Balsamic Fig Jam (handmade or store bought)
6 Fresh Figs, stem trimmed and quartered

Brush both side of the baguette slices with olive oil and lightly season with salt.  Place on a cookie sheet into a 350 degree oven.  Cook for about 6 to 7 minutes per side then let cool.

Spread about two teaspoons of the herb and garlic cheese onto the Crostini.  Next spread a teaspoon of the balsamic fig jam and then top with two of the quarters of the fresh fig.

Walnut Arugula Pesto, Blue Cheese, Walnut and Fig Crostini

Makes 12

1 baguette, 12 half inch slices
Olive oil
Salt
Walnut Arugula Pesto (see below for recipe)
¼ Cup Walnuts, toasted
1/3 Cup Blue cheese crumbles
6 Fresh Figs, stem removed and quartered

Brush both side of the baguette slices with olive oil and lightly season with salt.  Place on a cookie sheet into a 350 degree oven.  Cook for about 6 to 7 minutes per side then let cool.

Spread about two teaspoons of the walnut Arugula pesto onto the Crostini. Next sprinkle a bit of the blue cheese crumbles then add the two quartered fresh figs and sprinkle a few of the toasted walnuts on top.

Walnut Arugula Pesto

4 Cups Arugula
½ Cup Walnuts
1 Garlic Clove, minced
1 Tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice
1/3 Cup Olive Oil
¼ teaspoon of Salt
8 Grinds of fresh ground pepper

Add all of the above ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasoning.  Makes about ½ to 2/3 cup.  Store in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to two weeks.

Cambozola, Caramelized Onions and Fig Crostini

Makes 12

1 baguette, 12 half inch slices
Olive oil
Salt
¼ pound Cambozola Cheese
1 large White Onion
2 Tablespoon Butter
2 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon Salt
8 Grinds fresh ground pepper
6 Fresh Figs, stem removed and quartered

Brush both side of the baguette slices with olive oil and lightly season with salt.  Place on a cookie sheet into a 350 degree oven.  Cook for about 6 to 7 minutes per side then let cool.

To make the caramelized onions, peel the onion and cut in half.  Slice very thin slices.  Over medium heat add the butter to a medium sized sauté pan and let melt.  Add the sliced onions and toss with the butter.  Next add the sugar, salt and pepper and toss.  Cook over medium heat for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.  Be sure to toss frequently to prevent burning.  Remove and let cool.

Spread about two teaspoon of cambozola cheese on each Crostini or less if desired.  Add a heaping teaspoon of the caramelized onions on each Crostini then top each one with two of the quartered figs.





23 comments:

  1. This crostini's look absolutely ridiculous! Very creative and sounds delicious. Definitely want to try these :)

    Happy Blogging!
    Happy Valley Chow

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  2. The inside of a fig is beautiful - it's no wonder artists use figs as subjects so often. Also beautiful, your crostini! The walnut arugula pesto sounds amazing. :D

    How about a fig cake for dessert? If you have a copy, Dori Greenspan's 'Baking From My Home To Yours' has a delicious recipe!

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    1. Thank you for the dessert idea - I will check that recipe out!

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  3. I'm sure I've said it before but I'll say it again--your guests are the luckiest to be able to enjoy your tasty creations! These crostini are inspired and I love the pesto you chose, too. Just perfect, Lisa.

    (I also want to make your fig jam this year but I don't know if I'll be able to being away for a few weeks). Hope there will be time enough left in fig season when I get back...and I hope we have a chance to get together again before the summer's over! :)

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    1. Ahh - thank you Jean! Email me and let's get a date on the books for our dinner we talked about. It would be great to see you and your hubby!

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  4. Crostini are my favorite use for figs! Love your trifecta, especially the caramelized onions!

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    1. I am with you - the caramelized onions are the best. My hubby loves the smell throughout the house when I cook them.

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  5. Very fun idea Lisa! I can't believe it's fig time again...but it's a good time And you're making the best of it here! Happy entertaining ;)

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    1. It is kind of crazy how quick time goes - feel like I was just making fig jam yesterday!

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  6. Trifecta of delicious fig treats...my mouth is watering. Thank you for sharing your recipes. Creative Kitchen Bliss...

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  7. this looks amazing and figs are such a treat

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  8. I love these! I so wish we got good figs around here.

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    1. Thank you Lindsay! Sorry to hear the fig selection is not wonderful!

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  9. I still haven't seen figs here yet, but have a friend who always lets me know when they're ready. Your recipes are wonderful -- oh those flavor combos! Good luck with your dinner party.

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    1. Thank you Kelly! Appreciate you stopping by! Hope figs arrive soon in your town.

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  10. Lisa, these crostini's look wonderful I know your guests will fall in love with them. I bet your guests are anticipating your dinner party as much as you are. Hope your dinner turns out fantastic.

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  11. I hope you had a great party! And wow, 60 jars of jam. That's dedication right there. ;)

    Your crostini look great, as always! Long live the appetizer queen. :D

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  12. I'm loving the fig diagram plate. I was thinking about you when I saw you were going to make more of your fig jam. Can you believe I'm running dangerously low and was wishing you ladies were still here to help me make more. I haven't seen the best of the figs out here yet, I will be on the lookout. Hoping you aren't working to hard and you get more time soon to make jam and I also wish I had one of those brown butter cookies right about now.
    -Gina-

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  13. Dear Liza,
    Thank you so much for these fig-based recipes! Great additions to what you've already published on the figs topic!!
    I'm experimenting with all these variations. And I must say, the experience has been so rewarding!
    I share your passion for figs and fig-bases tartines. We are right now in the South of France, which feels literally like the fig paradise on the earth... White figs, dark-violete figs, tennis-ball-sized figs, delicate bell-like figs; local (from France) and others brought from the near medirettaneon countries, Italy and Spain)... all these (more than 10)sorts are on the farmer's market and sampling them becomes my morning ritual now.
    My family's favorite cheese-fig matches became those with the blue cheese, the camambert and the mozza...

    Regarding the Walnut-Arugula Pesto: I made it with walnut oil, it's equally delicious and so rich in flavors.
    I also made a variant in which I used ground almonds instead of walnuts (and then added the olive oil). The result is a bit lighter and brings new flavors.

    Thank you again for all these inspirational ideas! Reading your posts means a lot to me and it greatly controbites to my culinary experiences while on vacation:-)
    All the best!

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  14. I've been dreaming of that slow cooker Lisa and stalking it at Williams Sonoma! Hope your dinner went well, I know the appetizers were a huge hit! Probably not a crumb left for a mouse in the house ...........

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It simply makes me smile when I receive a new comment and I look forward to hearing from you!