Thursday, September 24, 2009

Candied Bacon :: Balsamic Glazed Figs w/Pancetta & Mascarpone

It's almost October and figs are popping up everywhere! My wonderfully crafty friend at Bread & Posies even gave me a freshly preserved jar of fig jam this week!

Figs are delicious sliced and served fresh on a cheese plate (especially when paired with Manchego!) or cooked atop sweet desserts. But I had never used them for savoury dishes before.  Well, I was out to dinner the other night and had the most delicious dish: thick slices of sweet bacon, topped with roasted figs, and a dollop of mascarpone all in a balsamic reduction. Perfectly salty, and sweet!

So last night, with A.'s brother in town, I set out to recreate it. They happily served as the test audience for my little experiment. I used pancetta instead of bacon (honestly: only because I like the round shape more, so feel free to substitute!). I sauteed the figs in a balsamic reduction sweetened with honey, and topped it all off with Mascarpone.

...From the lack of leftovers on their plates, I think I can say it was a success! :-)


Small box of figs (allow about 4 figs person), halved
Pancetta (2 slices per person
Olive oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Brown Sugar
Salt & Pepper to taste

Dust the pancetta with a bit of brown sugar and cook in a non-stick skillet over high heat. Allow the pancetta to cook thoroughly and start to crisp. When ready, remove the pancetta from the pan and lay on a plate lined with a paper towel/napkin to dry the oil.

Remove most of the leftover pancetta oil from the skillet, and in the same pan add the figs with the balsamic vinegar (2 tbsp per person). and the honey (1 tbsp per person). The balsamic will quickly start to thicken. Continue saute to prevent burning. Add salt and pepper to taste. When the liquids reduce to about half, remove from heat.

Now you're ready to plate! On each plate lay 2 slices of the pancetta. On top of the pancetta layer the figs and the reduction (divide equally between plates). Top with a dollop of mascarpone and enjoy!

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