There are certain tried-and-true food combinations that should never be messed with. One classic example includes ripe, seductive figs paired with salty, supple prosciutto and fresh goat cheese. "Sweet, salty and creamy" -- you might call this trio a holy triumvirate. Add rosemary to the mix (which, technically, makes this a holy quadrumvirate), and you have a winning combination you can apply to salads, pizzas and bruschetta. This recipe, however, keeps the foursome exclusive, and simply wraps them up in a prosciutto-hugging, goat cheese-stuffed fig. Rosemary sprigs do double duty as a toothpick and an aromatic in these plump packages, securing the prosciutto and infusing their woodsy aroma into the cheese, while the figs roast and the prosciutto crisps in the oven. The short blast of heat quickly turns this delicious quadrumvirate into a sensational appetizer.
You can easily assemble the figs ahead of serving. Refrigerate for up to 4 hours before serving and remove from the refrigerator 15 minutes before roasting. The rosemary sprigs will discolor while cooking, so, before serving, discard and replace the sprigs with a few fresh rosemary leaves as a bright and aromatic garnish.
Roasted Figs With Prosciutto, Goat Cheese and Rosemary
Active time: 20 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes
Yield: 16 servings
8 large Brown Turkey or Black Mission figs (ripe, but not mushy)
3 ounces softened fresh goat cheese
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 slices prosciutto, halved lengthwise
16 (3/4-inch) rosemary sprigs, with stems
Extra-virgin olive oil for brushing
Fresh rosemary leaves for garnish
Runny honey for garnish
Finely grated lemon zest for garnish
Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut each fig in half lengthwise and place on a work surface, cut side up. Gently make a small indentation in each center with a teaspoon. Mix the goat cheese and pepper in a small bowl until smooth. Fill the indentation with goat cheese. Wrap a prosciutto slice around the fig, crosswise, like a belt. Spear a rosemary sprig through the center to hold the prosciutto in place. Repeat with the remaining fig halves.
Place the figs in a baking dish and lightly brush the prosciutto strips with olive oil. Bake until the prosciutto begins to crisp, about 15 minutes. Remove and transfer the figs to a platter. Gently remove and discard the baked rosemary sprigs; fill the incision with a few fresh rosemary leaves. Lightly drizzle the figs with honey and garnish with lemon zest. Serve immediately.
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