Fig(ment) of My Imagination

When gifted with a lot of figs, as we were a couple of weeks ago, imagination is required in order to create a savory meal.

Desserts are easy, as figs are so naturally sweet. Tarts, cakes and preserves all use a lot of figs.

But, among savory dishes, a few figs go a long way. There aren't many recipes of this sort that call for a pound of figs… or more!

It made me think about what pairs well with figs. Cheese came to mind first. Nuts, too. And thyme. Wait. Maybe rosemary? No, thyme is right.

I remembered that Trader Joe has wonderful Armenian-style lavash flatbreads. Mark and I used to top them with just about anything to make a quick weeknight meal.

However, by topping them with "just about anything," we learned that some ingredients make them soggy. And cheese and figs might just do that.

To keep this from happening, I harkened back to something I learned through pie and tart making: brush the crust with egg white and bake it just enough to dry the whites and create a moisture barrier.

For the fig flatbread, I chose Cambozola - a sweet, creamy blue cheese that spreads well, and goes beautifully with figs, pine nuts, and thyme.

We both loved the results. I paired it with Esprit Gassier, a Provençal rosé by Château Gassier (I can't let go of summer, or its wines!). The bottle itself is just beautiful, and the flavor? Well, you can read about it on the Provence WineZine this week.

I will miss fig season. But it isn’t autumn yet!

~ David

Cambozola and Fig Flatbread

1 large sheet lavash, approximately 9 by 12 inches
1 large egg white
6 ounces Cambozola cheese, without the rind, at room temperature
     (or other soft, creamy blue cheese)
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves (1 teaspoon if using dried)
16 figs (approximately 1 pound), cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
a handful of pine nuts
freshly ground pepper
extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).

Place the lavash on a baking sheet and brush with a little egg white. Place in the oven for 1 minute to seal the bread. Let cool.

Once cool, mix the remaining egg white with the softened cheese and spread evenly over the entire lavash. Sprinkle with half the thyme leaves (or all the dried thyme, if using).

Layer the figs on top of the cheese, as if they were roofing shingles. Sprinkle with the pine nuts and remaining fresh thyme leaves. Lightly salt and generously pepper the top of the flatbread. Drizzle with olive oil, and bake for 11-12 minutes until edges are crisp and brown and figs are soft.

Cut into quarters and serve immediately.

Serves 2 as a light meal with a salad, or 4 as a first course.

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