Taste Italy with this inspired fig and goat cheese combo
I love to visit Italy. But to keep the expenses in check, I either rent a small apartment far away from the tourist areas or beg relatives for a room.
While in Venice recently, my daughter’s friend Marta recommended we try a restaurant called La Zucca — “The Pumpkin” in Italian. It’s next to a small canal so you can sip on a Spritz while watching the gondolas pass by. Sometimes there’s a singer aboard serenading a couple, which is always a treat.
Anyway, La Zucca changes its menu everyday, and lucky for me they were serving fresh figs with herbed goat cheese when I went. I have a small fig tree back home that’s about ready to pick, so I was eager to try their version. This dish makes for an excellent appetizer, and while I couldn’t get the exact recipe from the chef, here is my version.
Fresh Figs with Goat Cheese Makes 2 small appetizers Handful of fresh parsley leaves, stems removed, leaves washed and patted dry
3 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil table salt ( to taste) 4 fresh figs, gently rinsed and patted dry, score the tops like a cross but don’t cut the whole way through ( if you use your favorite fruit, the secret is it must be dead ripe so it melts into your mouth when you eat it)
3 to 4 ounces goat cheese (or you could use more depending how much you like it)
pinch of fresh or dry thyme (everything needs to be finely chopped)
In a food processor take three- fourths of the parsley and the olive oil and pulse until the leaves are tiny little bits. Add a little salt to taste. Set aside. Next, finely chop the remaining one- fourth of the parsley. Do your best to make it very small. If you want to make life easy, you can just pulse all the parsley with the olive oil ( that’s totally fine).
Now, in a clean bowl, combine the goat cheese, thyme and the finely minced parsley. ( If you prepared it all in oil, just scoop out the parsley and not that much oil.) Mix the herbs with the goat cheese until it’s all well blended. You can certainly add in other flavors you like.
To serve, place the figs on a clean plate and evenly divide up the goat cheese mixture into the center of the fig. Drizzle it all with the parsley oil. Decorate the plate with other fresh herbs and serve immediately.
Cooking at Home is a weekly column where Rebecca dishes on what she’s been making.