52 Foods Week Thirty Seven: Mission Figs

I’ve mentioned that apricots are one of my favorite fruits, and I underscored that with two additional apricot appearances. In every instance, I combined the apricots with some kind of pork. It’s occurred to me that this trait—call it porcine compatibility—maybe the best measure of my appreciation for a given fruit. This week, to put perhaps too fine a point on it, I’ve chosen another of my all time favorite fruits, Mission Figs, and, lo and behold, combined them with bacon.

The Farmers’ Market is rife with figs right now, a wonderful occurrence but one that can make for tough decision making. I opted for a basket of super ripe figs from Cadena Farm in Esparto, CA.

Ramón Cadena at the Davis Farmers' Market

While at the market, I also picked up three pounds of Bledsoe’s double smoked bacon and a package of lavash bread from East and West Gourmet Afghan Food—also known here as “the Bolani guys”—a great purveyor of Middle Eastern breads and sauces. This acquisition gave me the idea to make a lavash sandwich with bacon, figs and goat cheese. I invited a friend over and we got to work.

I began by cooking seven strips of the bacon in a skillet.

Bledsoe Bacon

While the bacon cooked, we sliced the entire basket of figs into thick slices.

Sliced Figs

Then we laid out the lavash and spread it with Laura Chenel Chèvre.

Lavash Covered in Goat Cheese

I laid out some figs on one end of the lavash, then folded that piece over and arranged the bacon in two clusters with enough space between them to fold one section over onto the next.

Another Layer of Figs

We laid more figs on top of half the bacon, then folded the lavash over until it was a roll similarly in size to a large burrito.

Folded Over

We warmed it for a few minutes in the oven, then sliced and served it.

Sliced Bacon, Fig and Goat Cheese Lavash Sandwich

Figs and bacon are one of the most natural combinations I can think of. The mild sweetness of the figs are a perfect compliment to the smokiness of the bacon. Adding the creamy chèvre to the equation smooths everything out and without overpowering. I think you could really enjoy this combination anyway you wanted, rolled in lavash is just one finger friendly solution.

One note for the future: I would warm the lavash before working with it so that it’s softer and less prone to breaking.

All the photos are here.

52 Foods Week Twenty Nine: Torpedo Onion

Scouring the Farmers’ Market for an interesting ingredient, we came upon the intriguing torpedo onions offered by Towani Organic Farm. Long and purple, torpedo onions are a milder onion with a hint of sweetness and a slightly garlicky flavor. Like other onions that have passed through my care, they looked like great candidates for grilling. We decided to pair them with some goat cheese and pancetta in a sandwich.

I began by trimming the ends of the onions and slicing each one in half lengthwise.

Trimmed and Halved

We brushed the insides with olive oil, and placed them cut side down on the Weber just to the side of the hot mesquite coals.

Torpedo Onions on the Grill

Meanwhile, I sliced up some Bledsoe pancetta and cooked it slowly on the stovetop.

Panned 'Cetta

The onions cooked about 15 minutes, ’til the edges were curled and starting to char. Then we flipped them. The cut sides had beautiful grill marks.

A Little Charring

We sliced some Octoberfeast Rillen Zelm bread on the diagonal, and brushed it with olive oil.

Sliced Bread

We put the bread directly over the coals to toast for a couple minutes on each side.

Toasted Bread

We pulled the bread and onions from the grill, and drained the pancetta. Then spread some Laura Chenel Chabis on each slice of bread.

Goat Cheese

We fanned the onions out and placed them on one slice and the pancetta on the other.

Sandwich Making

Finally, we stacked and skewered the sandwiches, sliced them in half and enjoyed them alongside some Oregon Pinot Noir. These were tasty sandwiches, and the onions really worked well with the goat cheese. The grilling had softened them nicely, but they retained some body. They had a nice balance of pungent and sweet flavors. I would dare say that in this sandwich the pancetta was almost an afterthought and could have been omitted entirely.

Grilled Torpedo Onion Sandwich

All the photos are here.