Fresh figs are already sweet and delicious on their own. However, we prefer to roast them under the broiler with a light coating of sugar to enhance their richness and make them easier to blend with other luscious ingredients. This fig spread can be served with an assortment of crackers and toast points as well as over slices of roasted pork or a succulent grilled steak.
8 fresh figs, stemmed and halved
1 medium sweet onion, sliced thinly
4 tablespoons sugar, divided
2 tablespoons good-quality balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 baking sheets lined with foil
To roast the figs and onions:
Preheat the broiler. Gently clean the figs with a damp paper towel. [Chef’s Note: Do not wash figs under running water, as they will become mushy and soak up too much additional liquid.] Remove the stems and slice the figs in half. Place the cut figs on one of the baking sheets, cut side up. Sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of the sugar over the cut sides. Place the baking sheet in the oven about 6” away from the broiler element and broil the figs for about 4 minutes or until the sugar is caramelized and the figs are softened. Remove the figs from the broiler and let cool.
Place the sliced onions on the second baking sheet and place under the broiler about 6” away from the broiler element and broil for about 4 minutes or until onions are soft and lightly browned. Watch them carefully as they might burn easily. Remove from the broiler and let cool.
To prepare the spread:
Place the figs and onions in the bowl of the food processor fitted with the chopping blade. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until slightly smooth but still a bit chunky.
This delicious fig spread can be served immediately or can be stored in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for about a week.
Caramelized Fig Spread is a perfect accompaniment to a platter of fine cheeses, fruits and assorted crackers. We’ve also been known to enjoy this rich spread smoothed over a slice of pumpernickel bread that is topped with a piece of softened brie cheese and melted under the broiler for about 1 minute. Delicious!
Recipe and photo by Lia Soscia