There is no happier place for me on a long holiday weekend than standing in the smoke from a fire I built and cooking something.
This weekend we were actually working-working, so I wasn’t able to take advantage of my friend’s Big Green Egg the way I usually do. Past adventures with the big green egg and a long weekend include cooking the entire breakfast on the egg, Christmas eve dinner of smoked duck breast, and simultaneously producing smoked trout and roasted tomato soup.
I needed to cook quickly but still couldn’t give up having tasty appetizers while I finished the main.
Since I had just found beautiful purple figs at the grocery store, it was easy to turn to one of my favourite and lowest effort appetizers – Grilled Figs with Goats Cheese
If you have never had fresh figs, this is a great way to try them. The grilling brings out the sweetness of the fig in a way you rarely get in North America and the goat cheese is a creamy and slightly tart addition that rounds the flavours out perfectly.
And the best part - this is so quick and easy, you can throw them on beside your fussiest barbecue lobster recipe to impress your guests or grill them up and snack as you wait for your burger to cook.
- 8-10 figs - ripe and plump
- 1T olive oil
- 10oz goat cheese
- finishing salt (optional)
- balsamic vinegar (optional)
- Preheat barbecue grill to medium-high with the lid closed. This is important since you want the BBQ lid to be pre-heated as well. If you don't have a lid on your grill, you can use a metal wok or pot lid with a heat-proof knob. Use it to cover your grill so it preheats as well.
- Slice the figs in half length-wise
- Toss fig halves in olive oil to coat
- Add figs, cut side down, to the BBQ
- Grill on a medium-high flame until the figs have a nice grill mark. Usually 2-3 minutes.
- Move the figs to medium indirect heat and/or turn down the direct heat to low.
- Carefully turn each fig half over and add a teaspoon of goats cheese on top of each fig, gently press down the goat cheese a bit so it pushes into the body of the fig, without crushing the fig.
- Close the lid of the barbecue. This is important or your goat cheese won't heat through or get golden on top. Usually, 3-4 minutes if you have properly pre-heated your lid.
- Remove when the cheese starts to turn golden on top or is starting to run. (Depending on the goat cheese you get it may do one or the other, both is optimal)
- Put figs on a pre-warmed plate, and garnish with the optional small pinch of salt and drizzle of balsamic vinegar.
- Wait, if you can, 3-5 minutes before serving so the figs can cool down.
- If you or your guests can't wait, have a glass of something tasty and cold nearby and serve directly onto a paper napkin, and warn your guests that the figs will be HOT inside.
These are great hot from the grill, with a warning, or room temperature.
There are lots of ways to tweak this recipe and highlight the specific flavours you like best. Serve them with a grind of pepper, add leaf of mint, or switch up the goat cheese to cream cheese or ricotta. You can mix things a bit by using pomegranate molasses instead of the balsamic vinegar. Or if you want it sweeter try a little honey drizzle. Using truffle honey brings up the sweetness and adds a little extra something special!
If you grill extra figs, or run out of goat cheese, don't worry. Just use the extra grilled figs on ice cream, in your morning oatmeal bowl or yogurt. Or try putting a few slices on your next sandwich for a little hit of charboiled sweetness.
Shopping Tips: Buying Figs
- ripe figs should be firm but soft like a ripe peach, they should not be mushy or fall apart.
- figs bruise easily, so check for bruising and that the stem is firmly in place.
- because figs come in a wide range of colours, from yellow to almost black, look for an even colour that is not green.
- figs don’t last long at room temperature, so pop them in a cool place or in the fridge door, and eat as soon as possible.
Oh, and make twice as many as you think you’ll need. That way the guest will actually get one or two. Maybe.