I have recently fallen in love with figs. As a child I ate a whole package of fig newtons on more than one occasion. But I don’t think I’d ever had a fresh fig until we were in Egypt two years ago. We were told not to eat any fruit or vegetables that you couldn’t peel, which really limits the choices. There was a beautiful fruit basket in our room that looked very enticing. In it were figs. I was hungry and I decided I could scrape out the inside and give them a try. Nothing like fig newtons – far better!
The figs at the farmers’ market this year have been delicious. And they keep coming down in price, so I keep buying more. We’ve fixed them a variety of ways, but I keep looking for new ideas for how to prepare them. I saw a recipe for a fig pizza in Bon Apetit magazine that I thought might be interesting. Larry objected, because it called for Gorgonzola cheese, not a favorite for either of us. But I wanted to be adventurous and for some reason it sounded good. I did modify the recipe in some other ways, but it was a success. We loved it, even with the Gorgonzola!
Here’s my version:
2 c crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
6-8 figs cut into thin slices
2 Tbsp fig balsamic vinegar
8 slices pancetta, cooked
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
cornmeal (for pizza peel)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Follow directions for pizza dough to roll out and prepare for two 10" rounds. (We made two pizzas from the dough.) Crumble cheese onto dough and sprinkle with pepper. Lightly oil a cast iron skillet with vegetable oil and heat on high until just starting to smoke. Place the pizza dough on a pizza peel sprinkled with corn meal so that it slides off easily. Place dough into hot skillet and then into the pre-heated oven to cook.
Place sliced figs in a bowl and drizzle with 1 Tbsp of vinegar to marinate while pizza cooks.
Bake pizza until crust is golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Place pancetta on top of cheese and figs on top of pancetta. Bake about two minutes more until figs are warm. Transfer pizza to cutting board. Whisk remaining vinegar and oil in bowl and add arugula. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Place arugula on pizza and cut into slices to serve.