I had an amazing figs with the goat cheese and walnuts appetizer last night (at Eno's in the Bishop Arts District in Dallas); I’m feeling inspired! This recipe is from one of my favorite chefs...David Lebovitz. You could do this as an amazing appetizer for Thanksgiving; just cut the tops off and leave the figs whole while baking (which will increase the oven time a little). When finished baking, let the figs cool a little. Then, simply use a melon-baller or a small spoon to scoop out a small bit of the fig on top (reserve for another use, or eat right away). Tuck a little goat cheese into the top of each fig, and finish by pressing a whole or some chopped walnuts on top! Serve warm!
Use a baking dish or pan that will allow you to bake the figs in a single layer. One that is 2 quarts (2l) should do it. Depending on where you live, fresh fig season is near the end of summer and mid-autumn and the best place to find fresh figs is at a farmers market.
1 pound (450g) fresh figs
4-6 branches fresh thyme
2 tablespoons liquor, such as Chartreuse, Pernod, Grand Marnier or Cointreau
1 tablespoon dark or light brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
three 1-inch (3cm) strips of fresh lemon zest
1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC).
2. Slice the touch stem end off the figs and slice each in half lengthwise.
3. Toss the figs in a large baking dish with the thyme, liquor, brown sugar, honey, and lemon zest. Turn the figs so that they are all cut side down in the baking dish, in a single layer.
4. For figs that are softer and juicier, cover the baking dish snugly with foil and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the figs are softened and cooked through.
For figs that are firmer, with less liquid, roast them in the oven, uncovered, for 30 minutes, or until cooked through.
5. When done, remove the baking dish from oven, lift off the foil, and let the figs cool completely.
Variation: For more savory figs, replace the liquor with one or two tablespoons balsamic or sherry vinegar.
Storage: Roasted figs can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week.
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