Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner, folks.
As in, I could eat this for every meal. It's that yummy. Fresh fig, prosciutto, marscarpone cheese, and balsamic vinegar reduction layered on top of a crisp slice of toasted ciabatta. Though it's intended to be a light appetizer before the main course, I have to confess I ate this for lunch today. And dinner.
About a year ago I journeyed down to DC for a labor day vacation with my good friend Claudia. By chance we stumbled upon an amazing brunch spot after touring the Lincoln Memorial called Founding Farmers. This place is amazing, y'all. If you've been there you have to know what I am talking about. Now I cannot go back to DC without making a pitstop for a meal at Founding Farmers.
When my dad was in DC visiting around his 50th birthday, I had the privilege of introducing another person to one of my favorite restaurants. It's definitely in my top five. For an appetizer we shared the Founding Farmers signature "farm bread" with fig, proscuitto, marcarpone, and a balsalmic reduction. Then I died. Figuratively speaking that is. I think my dad was pretty impressed too.
You know that scene in Ratatouille where Remy sees fireworks after combining the flavors of strawberries and cheese? Well, this is like that. Only better.
Somehow the sweet creaminess of the marscarpone italian cheese marries perfectly with the syrupy acidity of the balsamic reduction, saltiness of the prosciutto, and lusciousness of the ripe figs on a crunchy piece of crostini. I mean, take a bite of it and you'll feel me. You can thank me later for saving you the cost of a plane ticket to the Founding Farmers restaurant.
Now I know this is not really a baking post, which is what I typically stick to, but I assure you this still involves turning on the oven. Perhaps it's a even little less work that my typical recipe. If you're looking for a departure from the typical (yet delicious) bruscetta, I *highly* recommend this bite for your next dinner party, snack, hors d'oeuvre, ...breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
End of Summer Crostini
- 1 loaf ciabatta
- 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
- 1/2 cup marcarpone cheese
- 3 oz very thin prosciutto
- 4 fresh figs, sliced vertically
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1/4 balsalmic reduction (recipe below)
Place a baking rack on a baking sheet inside your oven and preheat oven to 550°F.
Slice your loaf of ciabatta diagonally to create longer, larger slices for your crostini. Thank me later. You'll end up with ten to twelve thick slices for a medium sized loaf of ciabatta. Also, prep your ripe figs by slicing them vertically. To tell if the summer figs are ripe they should be very soft to the touch and slightly oozy on the bottom. Very lightly sprinkle brown sugar over the slices of fresh fig. The sugar will dissolve into the figs. If you have extremely ripened figs, the sugar may not be necessary. I recommend tasting the fruit before sanding with sugar.
Lightly butter bottom side of ciabatta slices and broil in oven for five minutes or until lightly browned on the sides. Remove baking sheet from oven and let cool for five minutes.
Spread marcarpone cheese evenly on un-buttered sides of the crostini/ciabatta. Layer proscuitto on top, followed by thin slices of fig. Return the baking sheet to the oven for an additional five minutes while you prepare the balsamic reduction. Remove from oven when cheese is melted and figs slightly darken in color. Let crostini cool slightly while you finish the reduction. Drizzle with balsamic glaze when ready to serve.
- 1 cup balsalmic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
Put both ingredients in a small skillet and bring to a low simmer. Stir until sugar dissolves and then keep on low heat for ten to twelve minutes until the vinegar boils down to about half the volume. Use immediately.