Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Mission Figs: Fig and Goat Cheese Crostini

The last week of October brought me and my husband a little getaway to the Bay. In a trip that was a fusion between work, school, and pleasure, we got to experience the pleasant fall weather in San Francisco, and a lot of time visiting with friends. It is rather ironic how just a year ago it seemed like we hardly knew anyone in Northern California, but now we have friends from SF to San Jose to Oakland. We were welcomed by all of these friends, and split our stay between Oakland and SF. Lucky for us, all of our hosts are fellow "foodies", so we had many memorable meals and abounding tastings of wine.

We stayed a couple nights with our friend Sarah at her fabulous Russian Hill apartment. When we arrived at her place she greeted us with a bottle of wine, hors d'oeuvres, and a plan to watch the sunset from her kitchen, before heading out to dinner. She has what must be one of the most spectacular views of the city and the bay! Her kitchen is a wall of windows, and you can sit at her kitchen table pondering life and watching the city and sailboats go by. The prime time to marvel at her view is when the sun is setting. The sun bounces off of Berkeley in the distance, and the reflection glimmers and twinkles, appearing as bouncing little flames across the cityscape.

Sarah prepared the perfect hors d'oeuvre, without even knowing my affinity for figs. I had actually placed myself on a mission for this trip, and was determined to eat as many figs as possible. This hors d'oeuvre is simple and tasty, and we devoured it before heading to our “real” dinner at hotspot Beretta in the Mission. (I actually could have tasted more figs for dessert at Beretta, but by the time we were offered the dessert menus it was late (particularly on EDT), I was full, and I may have been falling asleep at the table!)

A few days later we stopped at the Berkeley Bowl to pick up picnic supplies for a day in Napa, and I grabbed a couple containers of fresh figs. The ones that made it through the day accompanied me on the plane (in first class, nonetheless – not me, just the figs. Darn overhead bins getting full.) Upon arriving home, I gave half to my mother, and pondered over how I could savor mine. My mind went straight to Sarah’s crostini and I then set forth to replicate it at home.

After an exhausting day at work, I was able to put these together mindlessly and actually ate them as dinner. I’ll long for the next time I have fresh figs to work with. In the meantime I may try this recipe with fig spread, although I tend to pair that with blue stilton cheese. Thank you to Sarah for her generous hospitality and her ideal hors d'oeuvre idea!

Fig and Goat Cheese Crostini
* 1 French baguette, sliced into small ½ inch rounds
* 12 fresh figs, sliced
* 4 oz. fresh goat cheese
* 1 tbsp. honey (preferably lavender honey, if available)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place sliced baguette on large baking sheet and bake for approximately 8 minutes, until bread is crispy. Spread goat cheese on baguette slices and top with 1-2 slices of fig, each. Drizzle with honey and serve immediately.

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