(No, this is not a photo of a jar of fig spread. But it is involved with what to do with a jar of fig spread, so keep reading).
I finally bought a jar of fig spread.
I have seen jars of fig spread, staring me down from the store shelf, daring me to try it. Daring me to see if I was as clever as it was poised. Could I handle the sweetness that it had to offer?
This fig spread has more personality than I knew what to do with: it is sweeter than sweet, even more so than candies in a candy store. For me, finding the culinary fit—the right recipe or two for a jar of in-your-face sweetness—was going to be a challenge. I FIGured (dad—that pun is for you) the best way to cut through the sweetness was to steer clear of other forms of sweetness. This called for an equally powerful embrace of foods with citrus, saltiness and/or bitterness; finding a sharpness whose pallor was equal in stature to figgy sweetness.
This appetizer worked: it was simple, and a flavor match: bruschetta with fig spread and cheese, I called it Figgy Toasts. If you have a full jar of fig spread, even this appetizer won’t use the whole jar, so let us continue…
Recently I had the chance to review a menu for a new restaurant. A simple salad caught my eye (it usually does, since difficult salads don’t generally sneak into my kitchen repertoire where quick and delicious are quintessential): a pile of arugula topped with skewers of prosciutto wrapped fontina and a reduced fig balsamic glaze. Brilliant. I had already tried—and loved—my experiment with reducing balsamic. For this, it just meant adding a scoop of fig spread; I could already imagine bold balsamic unfettered by a stream of sweet figgy kisses. And the cheese and prosciutto brought salty all the way home and then some, the arugula is bitter and snappy bite, like a snake with fangs. Huh. Jar-full of figs? I have you right where I want you:
Prosciutto Cheese Skewers on Arugula with Balsamic Fig Glaze
a few strips of Prosciutto [wrapped around]
1 inch cubes of fontina cheese (or fresh mozzarella)
arugula (piled per plate)
balsamic [reduced with]
fig spread (aka jelly, jam, confettura)
olive oil (drizzle this plus the balsamic/fig onto arugula)
Here are some other ideas for your jar of fig spread:
- Baby Frisee Salad from Epicurious
- Pancetta and Herb Pork with Fig Jam from Epicurious
- Serve it with cheese, as a quick yet gourmet appetizer—aim for a pungent cheese with big personality.
Don’t let that jar of figs stare you down. Have at it… and let me know what you made!