Friday, May 04, 2012

Grilled Figs and Cheese

I have a friend called T.  She can leave a person quaking in their shoes with a word and can slay dragons with her eyes.  She is certainly no one you would want to mess with.  She walks with a confidence that is both hard-earned and natural-born, can look anyone in the eye, and can wring success out of even the most stubborn situation.  She is also not scared of frogs…which is a huge deal in my book.

To the untrained eye, T may seem to be all hard edges and glacial surfaces.  Not to say the intimidating aura that floats about her is a sham.  It isn’t.  And don’t you get caught on the wrong side of that is all I can say missy!  But, that being said, beneath the ice and fire, is one of my sweetest friends (she will deny this no doubt, the way she tries to brush off hugs and kisses, but I will persist).

She is fiercely loyal to those she considers friends.  She will fight lions for you.  She will burn you music of an amazing variety -- random, yet awesome, music.  That includes an all Filipino ballad CD meant for singing along, in the car, in the rain. She is generous and thoughtful and will gift you with things she knows you will enjoy – whether it is an interview with your favorite local band, a pot of truffle salt, or luscious dried figs from Turkey.

There is no real recipe for this, but I will try to outline the method and ingredients as best I can, because this was truly extraordinary, as far as sandwiches go.  Just as T is, as far as friends go.

Grilled Figs and Cheese  
(for one)
  • Two slices sourdough bread (or your favorite bread…I imagine a darker multigrain would work well too)
  • About 3 dried figs, sliced
  • A spoonful of chopped walnuts
  • A couple spoonfuls of ricotta
  • 2-3 slices brie
  • 2-3 thick slices fresh mozzarella
  • Generous drizzlings of honey
  • A sprinkle of truffle salt

- Heat a panini press or grill pan.
- On one slice of bread smear the ricotta thickly.  Top with fig slices and walnuts.  Top that with the brie, then the mozzarella.  Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with truffle salt.  Top with the other slice of bread.
- Place sandwich on the press or grill and press down.  Grill, pressing down, until grill marks appear, bread is toasted, and the cheeses have melted and melded into a beautiful mess.

I have stuck to relatively mild cheeses here because I wanted something very creamy, and I wanted to use the truffle salt (which would be impossible with sharper, saltier cheeses).  You can certainly use other cheeses, and I am looking forward to experimenting in that direction as well.  Just remember to nix the truffle salt if you are using stronger cheeses.  Another, delicious, way to go at it would be to use truffle honey instead of the honey + truffle salt.  Oh yes.

And wait…I haven’t forgotten about the packet of locally cultivated, raised with much love and care, dried oyster mushrooms that I promised you!  After, quite literally, putting all your names in a hat and picking one (yes, I do not know how to work a random number generator), the winner is…Sweet Tooth (I’ll be emailing you shortly)!!  Thank you to everyone who joined!  I had fun and I hope you did too.  I think I’ll be doing more of this in the future :)

(ssshhhh...just nod twice if there are too many Game of Thrones references in this post)


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

So scrumptious looking! A fabulous combination.



Jen Laceda | Tartine and Apron Strings said...

So...I haven't seen Game of Thrones, but have heard so much about it!

I adore figs, especially with goat cheese, and sometimes with balsamic vinegar and salty prosciutto, although in a grilled cheese sandwich like this is also awesome!

Eileen said...

Oh, why must you taunt us with fresh figs months before they're ripe in the northern hemisphere? I would eat one of these RIGHT NOW.

Eileen said...

(Yes, I realize those figs are dried..but nothing compares to fresh figs right off the tree.)

suzette said...

The kind of food I imagine a royal from the House of Lannister would enjoy ;)

Gio of The Hungry Giant said...

I've never had figs before, but if it can be transformed into something as amazing as the photo, then I'm a believer!

Ling said...

OK this is a crazy awesome panini. and T sounds like an amazing person :)

Shalum said...

My husband is watching that this weekend. Hehe. That sandwich looks awesome!:) Cheddar will do anything for me, but I really should try those other cheeses :)

Midge said...

I haven't watched the series on HBO, but I've started reading the books; so exciting! And I love the combination of figs, honey, and cheese!

ChichaJo said...

Thanks Rosa :)

Hi Jen! I am hopelessly addicted to the books! I love figs too...even if what we get here are the dried variety! Yes, lovely with cheese or with prosciutto...or wrapped in bacon and baked! :)

Hi Eileen! Certainly nothing compares to fresh figs :) You are lucky you can get them, even if you have to wait until they are in season ;) We don't have them here so the only times I have ever tasted fresh is out of the country!

Hi Suzette! Oh yes!! :)

Hi Gio! We can't get them fresh here buy you can find dried...absolutely yummy with cheese :)

Hi Ling! She is :) The panini is good too, and very easy to make!

Hi Shalum! I love cheese and trying different types is one of my most favorite things to do :) High five to your husband! :)

Hi Midge! Love the books!! I am almost done with #5 and I am trying to draw it out since the next one isn't published yet!

Paz said...

Wonderful-sounding sandwich. Your friends sounds wonderful, too.

Paula @ Vintage kitchen said...

I found fresh figs a few days ago, which are not supposed to be available at all and am crazy happy eating them. This is a heavenly panini for me! I´ll try it with fresh figs. Thumbs up to your friend!

Katrina said...

Joey, you are KILLING ME with that photo -- it looks superbly scrumptious!!! Everything in that sandwich sounds amazing! I adore dried figs (unfortunately, I've still never tried fresh ones), and you know how I feel about truffles. I actually thought that truffle honey would be perfect immediately when I saw the picture, even before I read that you used truffle salt. I still remember the first time I had truffle honey. (Do you know that funny story?) I all but swooned! I saw some in Santi's recently, but it was quite pricey. This post makes me want to go out and grab it!

heidi said...

grilled figs and cheese alone are perfect, but in a grilled sandwich they are paradise. yum!

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Chocolate Shavings said...

That grilled cheese is perfection!

Anh said...

oh my. Love the concept for this grilled cheese sandwich!

Daniela - I never skip breakfast said...

This looks like something I'd like to start my morning with!

ChichaJo said...

Thanks Paz! They both are :)

Hi Paula! You are so lucky to be able to get fresh figs where you are! We don’t have them here!

Hi Katrina! This would be even better with truffle honey instead of the regular honey + truffle salt!! I am tempted to buy some now too! No, I haven’t heard your truffle honey story…do tell!! ;)

Hi Heidi! I love this combination deeply, really! :)

Hi Princess…I already answered your email :)

Hi Chocolate Shavings! Thank you :)

Hi Anh! It is truly a winning combination…love it too!

Hi Daniela! I never skip breakfast either ;)

neva | manilamommy said...

oh lord i love this post. i love figs and i love cheese! never seen them together and in a grilled sandwich pa!! you rock!

Junglefrog said...

Friends like that are the best as is this gorgeous sandwich. I'll have one now please. No make that two!

Homeandfood said...

Oh goodness, I am I'm food heaven.

Will definitely definitely be trying these soon! Amazing!

Thanks for sharing such a gorgeous recipe.

styl ┼╝ycia said...

Figs with cheese looks delicious. Thanks for recipe i will try it! Best regards form Poland!

Deukap said...

This looks amazing. I absolutely love the combo of figs and cheese but never thought of it on a sandwich. Genius!

BrownieSugar said...

What brand/type of grill pan do you recommend? I live in a small apt and don't have anymore room to store a panini press.

ChichaJo said...

Hi BrownieSugar! You can actually use any pan to make a panini :) When I'm lazy to pull out (or clean!) my panini press I just use a little teflon skillet and press down on the sandwich with a turner! Hope that helps! :)

Cary Hayes said...

I realize this is probably a very silly question, but did you butter the outside of the bread or just oil the pan before grilling? I'm assuming butter is ok, but just wanted to check your method first..It sounds delicious, by the way, and I happen to have some dried figs in my pantry just waiting for a recipe to come along to use them in. I stuffed some of them with toasted, buttered walnuts and wrapped bacon and drizzled with honey for a Valentine's Day appetizer. Very yummy!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Cary! I didn't put butter or oil before grilling and it was fine :) Although I think this would be great if you butter the bread first...thanks for the idea!

Anonymous said...

I actually make grilled cheese sandwiches using fig jam and gouda cheese.