Bacon. It’s the ultimate. Featured strongly in a BLT, as a flavor enhancer in soup or salad, prime time eating for breakfast or dinner, bacon never has and probably never will let me down. Which is more than I could say for IU basketball, Trey Anastasio of Phish, and the leadership of the Democrats. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a dish with bacon and thought, “this would be better without bacon.” It just doesn’t happen. Mac and cheese, every burger ever, wrapping lobster or filet mignon, bacon pieces in a wedge salad, bacon w/syrupy pancakes, and on and on. Bacon mixes with the sweet and the salty, and for this, I salute you. Thanks pork for the bacon.
I’ve made a bacon wrapped fig several times in the past couple of months since moving to Chicago, but it was too fibery and reminded me of fig newtons, which are fine, but not what I was looking for. In fact, this idea was inspired by a tapas dish at Cafe Ba Ba Reeba, dates wrapped in bacon served with an apple vinaigrette. It’s very simple to make, fairly filling with the hearty texture from the dates, and you and your guests will almost certainly clear the serving plate in a matter of minutes. I made a wine reduction with chicken stock and some random spices that I poured on during the second half of the time in the oven. Next time I will make a cajun-style sauce with maple syrup, cajun seasoning, and garlic powder, and maybe a little cayenne, that will match with all the flavors and really give it some more zip.
The result: 25-35 bacon wrapped figs
- 1 package bacon
- 10-15 figs, pitted and quartered or halved, depending on size
- Goat cheese (or blue cheese)
- Almonds (or cashews, if desired)
Half cook the bacon your preferred method. Cut half cooked bacon in half. You don’t want to overwhelm the bite with too much fig, so use no more than 1/2 a fig, but it would probably work better if quartered. Stuff as much cheese as you want in the crevice where the pit used to be, wrap with a half piece of bacon, and secure with a toothpick. If you want an extra crunch, you can place a half almond or something similar over the stuffed cheese. Repeat until you have enough to fill a baking sheet, or maybe a pan to make sure the grease doesn’t run all over. Cook in an oven at 375 F for 15-20 minutes, or until done. You could cook with teriyaki sauce, bbq, or something like what I described above to give some extra flavor. I highly recommend using something to give the bite a little more moisture, otherwise it can be very dry with the date and bacon combination.