Remember double features? Yeah, I don’t really either. I’m pretty sure that phenomenon passed well before I was born. Pixar tried to bring back the tradition, showing “shorts” before the full-length film, which I really appreciate; I love the feeling of getting more than my money’s worth – which is, assuming that seeing a movie is actually worth $9.50 (which it certainly is not).
So this week, I got a double feature for you: Some Padrons Like it Hot, followed by, The Figs are Coming! Please find your seats and enjoy the show.
First our short: Some Padrons Like it Hot
The story starts in the city of Padrón in Northwest Spain, where these little guys come originate from. I found them for a very reasonable $2/lb. at Green String Farm in Petaluma. Hundreds of them, piled in crates, begging for attention. So I gave them some. In fact, I gave them a lot of attention. Over the last two weeks, I’ve returned multiple times to purchase them by the pound-full. I cannot tell you how much I love padron peppers; I’m on the verge of addiction. It’s a good thing they are only available one time a year.
If you highlight padrons by simply preparing them with olive oil and salt, and they’ll steal the show. While many of them are mild and full of flavor, every now and then you find one that is hot, which makes eating these little suckers all the more fun. You never know what you’re going to get when you take a big ol’ nibble; the result can be sublime or send you running for a glass of water. They are the perfect pre-dinner snack, enjoyed on their own, or with a little dipping sauce of mayo & sriracha. They are so good, it’ll all be over before you know it, and all that will remain are decapitated heads lying on an oil-soaked paper towel.
Blistered Padrons with olive oil and salt
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add padrons and cook until skins are well blistered and begin to turn black, tossing/stirring every minute or so to ensure even blistering. Put onto paper towel and sprinkle with salt. If you want something to dip them into, take a heaping tablespoon or two of mayonnaise and stir in a teaspoon (or more) sriracha depending on how hot you want it.
Now for the feature: The Figs are Coming
Opening scene: The figs are coming, the figs are coming! Grab your knives, grab your cutting boards; milk your cows and goats to make cheese! Chefs and foodies, flock to the farmers markets and farm stands and grocery stores to snatch up this highly anticipated fruit!
I know what you’re thinking; you’ve seen this fig story before. This time of year, there’s seemingly an endless amount of fig stories, many with the same supporting cast, but they are all pretty equally awe-inspiring if you ask me. Even though I’m doing plenty of experimenting with figs, I love getting lost in the plethora of other recipes out there.
So I’m probably a little late to join the fig party. But last week I found myself drooling over the almost edible pictures, at Spoonforkbacon, and figured it was time to pick up a basket or two and get in the game.
For me, you can’t go wrong with figs and cheese. That star-studded cast is sure to make a blockbuster. Then, if you add bread and pig product, well then you’re well on your way to a memorable feature.
So when I stumbled across a recipe for prosciutto and Brie sandwiches with rosemary fig confit, I was sold; only, I decided to make it tosta-style instead. I’ve been on a tosta kick ever since Amber came back from Spain with her discovery of tostas (which are essentially an open-faced sandwich that you can put anything and everything on).
I drew out my plot line and found all the necessary support: rustic ciabatta; salty, delicious prosciutto; ripe, gooey Brie, and got to work. So without further ado, I present to you, my prosciutto and Brie tosta with rosemary fig confit.
Prosciutto and Brie tosta with rosemary fig confit (Adapted from Gourmet Magazine July 1995)
1 ciabatta loaf
about 1/2 cup rosemary fig confit
1/4 pound thinly sliced prosciutto
1/4 pound Brie, cut into thin slices
1 handful of baby arugula
For rosemary fig confit
1 cup fresh Black Mission figs, chopped fine
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
Make rosemary fig confit:
In a saucepan, stir together ingredients and simmer, covered, 20 minutes. Remove lid and simmer mixture, stirring occasionally, until most liquid is evaporated and mixture is thickened. In a food processor, purée fig mixture until smooth.
With a serrated knife, halve loaf horizontally to preferred size. Drizzle olive oil on bread and put under broiler until there is a slight toast to the bread. Spread confit on bread and add cheese. Put under broiler again for another 30 seconds to a minute, or until the cheese begins to slightly melt. Add arugula and layer prosciutto on top. Garnish with a few slices of fresh fig.