MAPLE-ROASTED FIGS WITH WALNUTS, BACON & TAHINI
Some fruits occupy that delicious territory straddling sweet and savoury—figs are one of the finest examples. They’re meaty and sweet; tasty when eaten raw out of hand, but rich when roasted. And when you team them up with the fatty goodness of bacon, walnuts and sesame, each bite hits all the right umami notes. Try these before or even after dinner; add a dollop of crème fraîche or yogurt and serve them at brunch. To make these vegetarian, simply use tofu “bacon” instead.
3 tbsp (45 mL) butter, divided, plus a little more for greasing the dish
2 slices of bacon, coarsely chopped
1 small shallot, coarsely chopped
1 cup (250 mL) raw, unsalted walnut pieces 2 tbsp (30 mL) tahini
¼ tsp (1 mL) sea salt
¼ tsp (1 mL) pepper
20 small figs—black mission figs are about the right size
⅓ cup (80 mL) maple syrup
1 Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
2 Into a skillet over medium heat, add 1 tbsp (15 mL) of the butter, the bacon and shallot; fry and stir often until the bacon and shallot are softened and beginning to brown at the edges—about 3 minutes.
3 To the pan of bacon, add the walnuts; stir to combine and don’t walk away, nuts can burn in a flash. Fry for another 3 minutes; remove from heat and transfer to the bowl of a food processor along with the tahini, salt and pepper. Pulse until it forms a well-combined crumble. Set aside.
4 Meanwhile, lightly butter or spray with nonstick baking spray an ovenproof dish big enough to hold all the figs; set aside.
5 Using a very sharp small knife, cut a deep X into the tops or stem ends of each washed fig. Don’t cut all the way to the base; go about two-thirds the way down. Snip off the hard stem with a pair of scissors; discard. They’ll look like succulent, four-petaled flowers. Set the figs into the greased dish; set aside.
6 Gently pull the fig “petals” apart just enough to stuff some of the filling inside the fig “flower.” Stuff each fig with enough crumble to fill it up to the top—should be about 1 tbsp (15 mL) each.
7 In a small saucepan or microwaveable cup, melt the remaining 2 tbsp (30 mL) of butter with the maple syrup. Drizzle each fig with a few drops of the maple syrup and butter— about ½ tsp (2 mL) each.
8 Pop into the oven and bake for about 10 minutes or until slightly soft but not collapsed and a little golden in places. Serve warm or at room temperature, but not cold.
Makes 20 figs, 2 cups (500 mL) of filling; figure on 2 to 3 per person