My friend Rachel has been saying for a couple months now that her fig tree out back has been producing far more figs than she knows what to do with. She unloaded a bag-full to some friends that turned them into jam. She picks some here and there to eat just as fruit, but mostly these Black Mission figs just fall to the ground and rot. I’m not normally a fan of figs, as they are a bit too sweet for my taste as fruit, but the last time she mentioned them, I recalled a delicious dish that I had Tinto in West Hollywood that involved figs, bacon, and cheese. I decided I had to try to make them for myself.
I went over to Rachel’s house, picked some of these beautiful fresh figs, picked up some port from Silverlake Wine (because you need a port good enough to drink as you cook), and headed home to make these decadent treats.
CHEESE-STUFFED, BACON-WRAPPED FIGS
12 Figs (not overly soft), stemmed and half peeled
1 cup Port
6-12 stips of Good Quality Bacon (amount depends on size of figs)
12 Toothpicks, soaked in water
2 medium Scallions, minced
¼ cup Gruyere Cheese, shredded
¼ cup Whipped Cream Cheese
1 Tbs Olive Oil
Figs can be eaten peeled or unpeeled, depending on a person’s personal preference. For this recipe I peeled half of each fig. The peeled part allowed for the port to soak in, and the rest of the peel gave a firmness that helped with the ease of wrapping and toothpicking the figs.
1) In a saucepan, combine the figs and the port. Bring to a simmer, then remove from the heat and let steep for 30 minutes.
2) While that’s steeping, make the cheese stuffing. Sauté the minced scallion in the olive oil until slightly browned. Combine the sautéed scallions with the gruyere and cream cheeses in a small bowl, and set aside.
3) After the figs are done steeping, remove the figs. Slice each one from stem to end, only cutting half way through. Stuff each fig with the cheese mixture…..the more the better in my opinion.
4) Wrap each fig with bacon….enough to go around once overlap slightly at the end. For small and medium figs, half of a strip of bacon is usually perfect. For larger figs, cut the bacon accordingly. Use a toothpick the secure the bacon strips.
5) Place the wrapped figs in a non-stick frying pan or skillet, and cook on medium-high heat until both sides of the bacon are crispy. To cook the rest of the way, put the whole pan or skillet in a pre-heated oven for 5 minutes at 350 degrees.
My roommate, Malinda, ended up getting home way to late that night, so I refrigerated some of those figs in a bacon blanket, un-cooked, for me to make for her the next day. They were just as delicious, so now I know preparing these ahead of time for a party is a great time saving option.
By the way, they turned out AMAZING! It was so fun to see Chris and Malinda’s eyes get huge as they enjoyed their first bite. That’s what makes cooking worth it to me.