One of the most disappointing things in life is discovering someone with a beautiful fig tree who doesn’t eat figs. I think it’s ok to pass judgment because I used to be that person. Granted, I was 4 years old at the time and refused to eat them, missing out on their subtle, delicate flavor and historical significance.
Fast-forward about 20 years to adulthood. Figs no longer have to compete with PB&Js and red apples and that’s just fine with me. But it’s only been as an adult that I’ve learned to really dig figs; they come to market for such a brief time (right, say, now!), are one of the most delicate tree fruits, and stand in the culinary lineup of fruit that doesn’t always hit you over the head but lets you take your time with its flavor. That’s not to say a fig can’t be bold — there are some with flavors reminiscent of eating jam right out of the jar. But their telltale tastes make them perfect for both sweet and savory applications, and I think there’s no better way of eating fresh figs than with cheese or on flatbread. To me figs belong with cheese.
This flatbread is a go-to recipe whenever I spy figs at the market. It’s simple and very easy, perfect for entertaining or as the main feature in a beautiful summer supper. There’s blue cheese at one end of the spectrum, sweet figs on the other, with slices of salty prosciutto and mellow caramelized onions living in between. It’s one big happy family on a pizza crust. But hurry — fig season won’t last and as you offer it up, this won’t either.
Fig and Blue Cheese Flatbread
(Makes two rustic flatbreads)
You can use a favorite pizza dough recipe or even a pre-made dough. I have better success when using an extremely hot oven and a pizza stone and peel, they’re worth having on hand.
1 pound pizza dough
1 pint fresh figs, sliced or cut into quarters
1 small red onion, sliced and carmelized
4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
A few slices of prosciutto
Extra virgin olive oil
A little bit of cornmeal
Preheat your oven to 500˚ and for best results use a pizza stone. Make sure your pizza stone warms up in the heated oven for at least 10-15 minutes.
If using store-bought, let the pizza dough come to room temperature for 20-40 minutes. Divide the dough into two pieces and place on a lightly floured counter and cover with a cloth. Let the dough rest for another 20 to 40 minutes. Shape the dough into ovals, cover and let rest another 10 to 20 minutes.
Roll or press the dough into its final shape, using a fork to dock the pizza dough. Brush with olive oil, sprinkle cornmeal on a pizza peel and place the pizza onto the peel. Transfer to the oven and bake 4-6 minutes until firm and just until it begins to brown on the edges. Remove the pizza from the oven and top with the carmelized onions (they can be made ahead), figs, and cheese. Give a light drizzle of olive oil and finish in the oven for another 6-8 minutes or until crisp with a rich brown crust. Remove from oven and tear prosciutto and oregano over the pizza. Serve warm.
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