You know how people always say there’s a story behind every fig? (I’ve never actually heard anyone say that.)
Anyway, it was the Fall of 2004 and I had caught a show on the Food Network with Michael Chiarello featuring Thanksgiving leftover recipes. He made a Cranberry Bruschetta, which sounded promising in theory, but to be honest, I’m not a big fan of cranberry sauce. I am, however, a big fan of grilled bread with cheese and deliciousness piled on top. Suddenly, inspiration struck in the form of one of my favorite fruits: figs. I added a few ingredients, made some adjustments and a star was born. I’ve been making this appetizer for almost ten years and it’s always a show-stopper.
If you’re looking for something different to serve at your holiday party this year, consider Fig Bruschetta. Even people who suffer from Newton-aversion and claim not to like figs try this and love it. It’s the perfect flavor combination of sweet and savory with the candy-like fruit and sharp and salty blue cheese. The chutney is also really nice on it’s own stirred into oatmeal or as an accompaniment to pork chops.
1 loaf multi-grain bread, sliced
2 cups dried Black Mission (or Calimyrna) figs, chopped
2 cups apple cider
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/3 cup fig preserves
2 garlic cloves
4 oz blue cheese
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds, for garnish
1 tbsp chives, for garnish
Salt & pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.
Combine cider and figs in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer until liquid becomes syrupy and figs have reduced to a chutney consistency. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the walnuts and remove from heat. Allow to cool.
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
Using a grill pan, grill the bread lightly on both sides.
Rub the toast with garlic.
Spread fig preserves over the toast and top with a spoonful of chutney. Top with blue cheese.
Heat bruschetta until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.
Garnish with pomegranate seeds and chopped chives.