Recipe and photos contributed to Hispanic Kitchen by Carolyn Swaney
Spanish chefs always seem to hit the mark when it comes to dishing out immense flavor with the simplest of ingredients. So many of the most fabulous plates from the Iberian peninsula incorporate only a few ingredients, whose flavors meld together in the most amazing way. Higos y Cabrales perpetuates that same Spanish way: 4 ingredients, out-of-this-world flavor, texture juxtaposition … and a really impressive-looking appetizer that takes about 10 minutes to make.
Figs with Cabrales cheese was one of those appetizers that people eyed for a second, tasted, and, by the time I could bring out a second platter, the first was GONE. Then the questions started rolling in.
“What WAS that?”
“No really, what else was in that?”
“Wow, do you cook all the time?”
“Seriously…what’s the secret?”
But, really … it’s figs, cheese and nuts. A little drizzle of honey brings all the flavors together, but that is it. Nothing else. So, thank you, Spanish cooks everywhere, for making a few ingredients so unbelievable together. I would be pretty happy eating any stinky cheese on anything, but the softness of the fig with the crunch of the nuts brings out the tangy flavor of the cheese, mellows the sweetness of the fig, and couldn’t be easier to prepare. For an easy alternative, or at colder times of year, use dried figs, same prep, but broil for just a few minutes until the cheese is melted and the nuts are toasted. Save the honey drizzle for the very end. Ambrosia.
4 oz cabrales cheese or other strong blue cheese*
4 oz chopped pecans
clover honey for drizzling
My list of ingredients:
1. Cut stem from the fig, then slice in half. Place halves on a platter.
2. Cut cheese into small squares and press gently onto each fig half.
3. Chop pecans and sprinkle on the cheese.
4. Drizzle a small amount of honey over each fig half.
5. Enjoy … then take another before they are gone!