Roasted Figs with Fresh Mozzarella & Prosciutto

I don't know if you all know this..... but it's finally that time of year when figs are in season!!!  I love these little jewels - whether fresh, grilled, roasted, wrapped with bacon, stuffed with cheese or even in Newton form.  When I spotted them in Trader Joe's this week I knew I had to plan a dinner party around them -- and that's just what I did.

I traditionally pair figs with either goat cheese or blue cheese, but in this case I went with good old fresh mozzarella for a couple of reasons...  1. I wanted the figs to shine and not be overwhelmed by a powerful cheese and 2. I was having guests over for dinner and wanted to "play it safe", just in case someone didn't find chunks of blue cheese unappealing {in which case I would be forced to terminate our friendship}.

This appetizer is also perfect for those summer days when you want an impressive dish with minimal work - but you have to be sure to use quality products because they are really going to shine in all their glory here.  Served on a bed of peppery arugula, the salty prosciutto pairs perfectly with the creamy mozzarella and roasted figs -- add a drizzle of balsamic syrup and some cracked black pepper and serve as a salad or on top of crostini.

Roasted Figs with Fresh Mozzarella and Prosciutto - serves 6-8

1 lb fresh black figs
1 bag arugula
1 package prosciutto, torn into bite sized pieces
1 large ball fresh mozzarella, torn into bite sized pieces
salt and pepper to taste
extra virgin olive oil
juice from 1 lemon
balsamic syrup
french bread, sliced and toasted

1.  Preheat oven to 450.  Slice of stems of figs and cut each fig in half.  Arrange figs on a cookie sheet and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Roast figs at 450 for 30 minutes, rotating pan halfway through.  Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

2.  Toss arugula with lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.  You just want the leaves to be lightly dressed.  Arrange dressed arugula on serving platter.

3.  Top arugula with roasted figs and scatter torn prosciutto and mozzarella on top.  Drizzle with balsamic syrup and top with cracked black pepper.  Serve with toasted bread.

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