Bruschetta With Figs, Gorgonzola Cheese, Pancetta Crumbles, & Toasted Hazelnuts

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We are now halfway through August, which for me means that fig season will soon be here. I was able to pick a handful of small figs from the trees in our yard, but the larger trees in the fields beyond our property are still too firm. I love figs, and although some folks do not care for the texture, for me, there is nothing better than biting into a fully ripened, tender fig whose sweetness explodes in your mouth. Since fig season is a short one, when they are in season I pick the trees daily and use them for everything from jam to pasta dishes. I love to use them in my baking and find they are delicious when paired with a salty meat such as prosciutto in an appetizer. You can read more about my fig obsession and find a lot of fig recipes in my post All About Figs.

A week or so, I had a recipe pop up in my FaceBook feed for baked figs from the White on Rice Couple.  It looked delicious, and the combination of ingredients was perfect, so I decided to make bruschetta over the weekend using the same combination. The figs need to be fully ripe for this recipe, and I used the back of a spoon to flatten them slightly on my toasted bread slices. A baguette type of bread works great for this recipe as you end up with a small appetizer that you can easily enjoy in two bites. I used a soft Gorgonzola cheese, and pancetta instead of bacon. I finished off my bruschetta with a sprinkling of lightly toasted hazelnuts for texture, and a drizzle of chestnut honey. The chestnut honey has an earthy flavor that works well with nuts and combined perfectly with the salty pancetta and the sweetness of the figs. These tasty bites would be perfect on a warm summer evening with a glass of crisp white wine.

Note: To toast the hazelnuts, bake in a preheated 350-degree oven spread out on a baking sheet for ten minutes. Wrap the nuts in a kitchen towel and let steam 1 minute. Rub nuts in the towel to remove loose skins, then coarsely chop.

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Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2016

Bruschetta With Figs, Gorgonzola Cheese, Pancetta Crumbles, & Toasted Hazelnuts

Ingredients:

  • 16 1-inch Slices Crusty Bagguette
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 8 Small To Medium Fresh, Ripe Figs, Cut In Half Lengthwise
  • 1/3 Cup Diced, Cooked Pancetta Bits (Or Bacon)
  • 4 to 5 Ounces Gorgonzola Cheese, Crumbled
  • 3 Tablespoons Toasted, Chopped Hazelnuts (See Notes Above)
  • 2 Tablespoons Flavorful Honey (I Used Chestnut Honey)

Directions:

  1. Preheat broiler to high.
  2. Lay the bread slices side by side on a baking sheet, then lightly brown on both sides.
  3. Brush the bread slices with olive oil.
  4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  5. Lay a half of each fig onto each slice of bread, then use the back of a spoon to flatten slightly to fit the slice of bread.
  6. Divide the Gorgonzola cheese and pancetta bits evenly on top of each fig.
  7. Bake the bruschetta with figs just until the cheese melts.
  8. Place the bruschetta on a platter, then sprinkle with the chopped hazelnuts.
  9. Drizzle with the honey and serve while still warm.