Today's 3-ingredient dish comes from Phyllis Grant, the recipe-master behind Dash and Bella, which is adorably named for her two children who help with all her recipes. Prior to Dash and Bella, Phyllis was a pastry cook at Bouley, Michael's and Nobu in New York City (as well as a dancer, an editor at Zagat Restaurant Guide, yoga teacher, and birth doula). As a lover of multiple ingredients, this posed quite a challenge, so enjoy her best simple recipe:
I've been known to put up to 10 toppings on a bowl of stew. So you can imagine how challenging it was for me to come up with a three-ingredient recipe! At first I was trying to dodge the challenge. Does olive oil count? What about balsamic vinegar? Pine nuts? Yes, yes, and yes. The challenge was to achieve complexity of flavor with very few ingredients. And I think I've done it.
I'm happy to say that the simple combination of figs, goat cheese, and bacon satisfies even a complicated toppings lover like me. The creaminess of the goat cheese, the salt and fat of the bacon, and the sweetness of the fig meld together under the broiler into a perfect bite (or two—the figs have been big this year!).
Since my daughter Bella stopped eating meat recently, she was concerned about the vegetarians out there. So, as an alternative, I suggested replacing the bacon with a drizzle of balsamic before placing the figs under the broiler. Bella seemed satisfied.
My son Dash, on the other hand, gleefully helped me make these from beginning to end. He snipped the bacon, stuffed the figs with goat cheese, and ate bites of all the ingredients along the way (even some raw bacon!). He also enjoyed the final cooked product as you can see by his joyous face.
Bacon-Wrapped Broiled Figs with Goat Cheese
1-2 teaspoons creamy, mild goat cheese per fig (depending on the size)
1 piece of thinly sliced bacon per fig (use 1/2 to 3/4 slice for smaller figs)
*Use figs that are soft but not too ripe.
1. Preheat your broiler to high.
2. Slice off both the stem and a bit of the base of each fig. With a knife, slice a little pocket into the side of each fig going almost from stem to base. Using a small spoon, insert goat cheese into each fig.
3. Wrap bacon around each fig so that the goat cheese pocket is sealed and the stem and bottom are still exposed. The bacon should overlap a few inches. Trim off any excess with scissors.
4. Place the fig on a broiler pan (which will allow the bacon fat to drip down below) with the overlapping edges of the bacon down, otherwise it will unravel while cooking. Place on the middle of the rack of the oven.
5. Cook for about 3 to 6 minutes, and keep an eye on them as the bacon will cook quickly. Remove from the oven when the bacon is crisped to your liking.
6. Use a spatula to carefully place cooked figs on a paper towel to absorb some of the grease. Serve within a few minutes of removing them to keep them from getting soggy.
The figs are great by themselves as an hors d'oeuvre (though a bit messy). Or make them a meal by placing the cooked figs around a big salad arugula and pine nuts with citrus dressing. As you eat the salad, you can spread the gooey cooked figs onto bread or crackers.
Find more of Phyllis's recipes on her blog Dash and Bella.
(recipe and images by Phyllis Grant)