Figs with Blue Cheese and Proscuitto

Sorry about the timing on this. I wasn’t really sure if I should post this tonight – after all, fig season is long gone – but I found dried figs at the store last night and it reminded me that I forgot to share one of the prettiest, easiest things I’ve ever made. This dish was inspired by an appetizer we ordered at Cafe Spiaggia – the restaurant whose more sophisticated sibling is a famous favorite of the Obama’s. It was a wonderful, simple dish composed of fresh figs, proscuitto, and shaved parmesano. When I found figs in my market not long after, I instantly snatched them up. The mild taste of fresh figs is really beautiful and they pair perfectly with the salty of the proscuitto and tangy of the blue cheese.

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So anyway, bookmark this recipe and wait until next year. It’s worth it.

Figs with Blue Cheese and Proscuitto

inspired by a dish at Cafe Spiaggia

I’m finding it very difficult to list measurements for this recipe, so I’ll just list the ingredients and you can estimate the amounts on your own.

Fresh Mission figs
Good quality blue cheese (I happened to have Maytag, but others will work well also)
Thin cut slices of proscuitto
Extra virgin olive oil
Agave nectar or honey
Salt and pepper

To assemble, cut the blue cheese into small chunks and the proscuitto into strips about an inch wide. Cut the figs into quarters, then wrap each segment with proscuitto, enclosing the blue cheese. The proscuitto will stick together pretty well on its own, so wrap it tightly to hold in the cheese. Drizzle with olive oil and just a drop of agave nectar. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.

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Potato Salad

Whew, it’s been a while. I’ve been busy, you know, getting married!

Wedding Photo

What a cool, fun day we had. I’m so sad, actually, that’s it’s over. Everyone told me I’d feel relief. Really I just feel this huge sense of disappointment that we don’t get to party anymore! I mean, look at that photo – what cool friends we have! What a beautiful location we had!

Alas, back to work and cooking now. I actually made this recipe for my family a few weeks ago and everyone really enjoyed it. Potato salads seem to epitomize summer, but I’ve never understood the thick mayonnaise dressing that can’t sit out in the sun and fills your belly to the point of disgust. A few things make this potato salad stand out – a vinegar and oil dressing, cilantro, and beans. Together, they elevate the dish and make it taste, in my opinion, a lot more of summer.

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Potato Salad

1 pound potatoes
1/2 pound green beans
1/2 pound turkey bacon (I found a pepper turkey bacon)
1/2 cup cilantro
4 shallots
2 jalapenos
1 clove garlic
juice of 2 lemons
1/2 cup olive oil
red wine vinegar, to taste, to finish the dressing

Start by getting the potatoes in salted, boiling water. Cook them until they’re just barely soft all the way through. In the last couple minutes, toss the beans in and blanch them. When finished, put them in an ice/water bath to stop the cooking and keep the beans very green.

Meanwhile, brown the bacon in a separate pan. Keep the brown bits and rendered fat in the pan.

Mince the garlic, shallots, and jalapeno. Keep the seeds and ribs if you like it very spicy, otherwise remove. Toss them all in the rendered fat for a quick saute. You just want to barely cook these – the garlic should still be pungent, the jalapeno still fresh and spicy, and the shallots still crisp. In a bowl, mix the aromatics and rendered fat with the olive oil and lemon juice. Taste, and add more red wine vinegar if needed. Season with salt and pepper.

Once cool, chop the potatoes into cubes and the beans into inch-long pieces. Combine with the dressing and top with cilantro.