Here we are three-quarters of the way through August already and in the busiest time of the summer. Pretty soon all the kids will be back in school, (sorry kids for that reminder) and, at least, the middle of the week will slowly revert back to a slower pace as fall takes hold. There is, however, still a ton of summer left and that means still a lot of grilling to be done.
You know I’m always asking people if they have any requests for certain recipes, recipes using certain ingredients, or things they make that they feel are great ideas to pass to along to others; meaning you. Over the course of this last week, the main requests were for things that were grilled, appetizers and desserts.
I also had a lot of people tell me about these dishes they thought would be great ideas to share in this article. I have to say, most of them really did sound like great ideas and were dishes that I can only imagine would have some awesome flavors. The thing is, for those dishes, I have to try them out myself, so I can pass along some kind of coherent recipe. I mean, even though I’m always telling you to use the recipe as a guide, there has to be some basic ideas of how much of each ingredient to start out with and not just writing: roll your chicken in the dough and cover with sauce before baking. So, that being said, I was walking up my steps after my 14th day of work in a row, (it’s almost off season remember, so for now I’ll take as many days as I can get), but I haven’t had time to try any of these ideas out.
I was still trying to think of something and I must have been thinking out loud as I passed Heather and Ryan, who were out taking care of their patio garden. I had just turned the corner on the second floor to go up to my place when Heather mentioned to me that figs were in season. I was still only half paying attention because I was still in awe of how great a job they did creating a patio and garden that would make such an awesome little bistro setting. We had talked about setting up a few tables p and serving dinner. Anyway, I think I probably said something like, “Huh?” and she mentioned grilled figs stuffed with feta cheese and wrapped with prosciutto. I went inside and immediately pulled out my old recipe book from my apprenticeship days and thought, “Wow, she’s a genius.”
This is such a simple recipe and can easily be varied by the type of cheese and bacon you use. It also can just about meet all the requests as it is grilled, can be an appetizer, and is sweet enough to practically be a dessert. Enjoy.
Grilled Prosciutto Wrapped Stuffed Figs
10 fresh figs, slightly soft to the touch but not mushy
6-8 oz. cheese (feta, goat, blue, all work well)
10 slices prosciutto
Make a small X incision into the bottom of the fig with a sharp knife. Blend the cheese a little (you can use a fork) to soften; I and use a pastry bag to pipe into the fig. Wrap with prosciutto.
Grill on medium for a few minutes and move to indirect heat on the grill for about 5 to 10 minutes until the cheese is warm. For more of a dessert, you can combine cream cheese, raspberry puree and some almonds, and wrap with a little maple bacon. Grill to brown the bacon and finish with indirect heat.
Trained under Master Chef Anton Flory at Top Notch Resort in Stowe, Vt., Smitty is a personal chef specializing in dinner parties, cooking classes and special events. For more information and archived copies of Stir it Up, visit chefsmitty.com. Smitty welcomes your questions and comments at [email protected] or (530) 412-3598.