Roasted Fig, Gorgonzola and Crispy Salami Crostini
Sweet roasted figs, sharp and salty gorgonzola, syrupy balsamic vinegar and crispy salami make for party-worthy crostini.
For the past week, I’ve spent a little time here and there tidying up my succulent garden. The summer heat has left a lot of crispy dead leaves under the skirts of my plants. I’ve been pruning overgrown clusters and refreshing old arrangements, partly to give my garden a clean start as we approach winter but mainly because good friends will be visiting next week and I want to pretend my garden always looks well-tended and manicured.
But I can’t seem to get ahead. At the end of each gardening session my pile of displaced plants is bigger than the new plants I started with. I quietly admonish myself for continuing to buy more succulents but when I see the variety of colors, shapes and textures I can’t help myself. I love them all and I don’t mind the work that comes with keeping them happy.
I’ve also become a collector of rare succulents–something I never imagined would happen–and there’s one type that is my weakness: the variegated succulent.
I’m a sucker for all two-toned succulents–if it’s striped, splotchy or speckled–suddenly the interest goes from want to need. Look at these guys–can you blame me for wanting them all? I bought my first rare, variegated plant on eBay in April 2016; many more have followed since.
So when I stopped by Trader Joe’s to pick up a package of Black Mission figs and spotted these Tiger figs, it was no contest which would end up in the cart. The sunny color got my attention but the green stripes did me in. I already had this recipe in mind with the Black Mission figs; the Trader Joe’s description for the Tiger figs was “fruity with a hint of berries”–while this sounded appealing their variegation was what won me over. Sold.
Tiger figs are a relatively newer variety and have, at least to me, a milder, less figgy flavor. The descriptions of them having a berry quality are accurate. I like their mellow, not-too-sweet quality, though maybe that’s because some of the pieces in my package had not fully ripened yet.
It didn’t matter. These figs were slated for a quick roasting and after twenty minutes in the oven the heat had coaxed the sweetness out of even the greenest ones. They were like candy, too easy to eat right out of the oven, so it was with some effort that I stopped taking sample bites to make sure there would be enough for the recipe I’m sharing today.
When it comes to small bites it doesn’t get easier than crostini. The topping possibilities are endless, though figs always seem to make the cut when it comes to pleasing both the eyes and palate. I paired the roasted figs with gorgonzola, reduced balsamic vinegar and crispy salami–sweet, sharp, acidic, salty. I love the bold flavors and the mix of textures.
Just a little of the syrupy balsamic vinegar goes a long way; its acidity helps to balance the assertiveness of the gorgonzola and the sweet figs but make this recipe your own. Your favorite milder cheese would work just as well here and if you want to keep things vegetarian, omit the crispy salami.
I normally would have used prosciutto here but I always seem to buy more salami than I need for a charcuterie board. I hesitated to add them here because salami just doesn’t have the cachet of prosciutto, but I wanted another salty component. Then I remembered that one of my favorite things from my childhood was popping salami into the microwave and dipping the disks in maple syrup (or more likely it was Aunt Jemima). My sisters and I loved how crispy they got and with the syrup they were the perfect balance of salty and sweet. Here, sliced in thin strips, they were perfect.
I’ve still got a few hours of sprucing up the garden before our friends arrive but between these crostini, the Mushroom Pâtê from my previous post and wine of course, the important items on the list are covered. Even if I don’t get my garden tidied up in time at least I know my guests will be eating well.
Here are more figgy recipes you can check out:
- Rainbow Chard and Fig Puff Pastry Galette
- Fig Bars
- Fresh Fig and Olive Oil Cake
- Chocolate-Mascarpone Stuffed Fresh Figs
- Prawn, Pesto, Fig and Feta Sandwich
- Fresh Fig Galette
- Caprese Salad with Fig Balsamic Dressing
- Grilled Fig and Prosciutto Bruschetta with Arugula
Roasted Fig, Gorgonzola and Crispy Salami Crostini
- 1 pound fresh figs, quartered
- 1 small wedge Gorgonzola (or brie or other soft cheese), crumbled
- 1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar
- 12 slices salami
- 1 large Baguette, sliced thinly
Preheat your oven to 400ºF. I recommend using nonstick foil to line a baking pan for this.
Place the quartered figs in a single layer on the foil-lined baking pan and roast the figs for about 20 minutes. Check for doneness at the 15-minute mark. You should see some caramelization from the natural sugar from the figs. Remove from oven and transfer to a plate. The caramelized sugar hardens as it cools so it might be a little harder to peel off the soft figs if you wait until they cool.
If there's room in your oven, in another small baking pan, arrange the salami in a single layer and bake for 6-8 minutes until the salami has rendered some of its fat and just starts to brown. Remove from oven, blot with paper towel and slice into thin strips and set aside. As mentioned above, you can save time by preparing the salami at the same time you're roasting the figs. Just be mindful of the shorter oven time. (Alternatively, you can also microwave the salami on a plate for 30-40 seconds.)
To save time, also while the figs are roasting in the oven, reduce the balsamic vinegar in a small sauce pan over medium heat on the stove, stirring occasionally. It will take roughly 15 minutes for the balsamic vinegar to reduce by half. Remove from heat and transfer to a small container. The reduced vinegar will thicken as it cools. Set aside.
Assemble and Bake the Crostini
Arrange the baguette slices on a baking sheet. Add some crumbled Gorgonzola on each piece (as much or as little as you want) followed by a few pieces of roasted figs. Bake in the oven at 400ºF for five minutes or until the gorgonzola has started to melt. Remove from oven, drizzle with a small amount of the reduced balsamic vinegar and finish by sprinkling the crispy salami on top. Serve immediately.