This is a super easy appetizer recipe that can be modified to match the ingredients you have on hand. Below I included a table with substitutions, alternatives, modifications – you name it. The ideas of savory, sweet, crunch and herb can be repeated in many ways. I made these recently for a dinner party with items I just had on hand and an almond/apricot/basil version for a baby shower. Make a lot or just a few but be sure to taste a prototype to ensure that you like the flavors all stacked up.
Take the whole fig and cut in half lengthwise (top to bottom
Open and flatten the fig half to form the base of the “bite”, skin will be down and inside fruit and seeds showing on top
Spread cheese on top of fig
Put a dot or dollop of reduced balsamic (not too much, just for a flavor tang) on the cheese and then push in a pecan half. You can roast the nuts beforehand for an even deeper nut flavor (or buy them roasted J)
Drizzle just a tiny bit of honey on top and sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves
Key points: you are making one bite at a time so apply the flavors sparingly. There is a lot of flavor in each of these, so the goal is to balance with fig and cheese as the highlights.
Twenty-one weeks ago I pinned a delectable recipe of what appeared to be asparagus, prosciutto, chicken and a cream sauce. But won’t you know it, I went to plan my dinner prep only to find the whole thing was in a foreign language, that I now know to be Polish. Lacking initiative (apparently), I changed plans and dished up the tried and true classic, cereal for dinner. Ok, some other stuff came up too, like no hubby for dinner and really hungry. When walking home a few days later, listening to another food novel and thinking about dinner plans, it suddenly dawned on me – just copy paste the text into a web translator to get enough of a clue about that cream sauce. I could wing the rest. Besides what’s there to lose? I still had cereal. And an easy appetizer: prosciutto wrapped cantaloupe!
Zucchini and tomatoes sautéd with shallots instead of asparagus
Fennel frond pesto I made in 2011 and froze (yikes! But still good)
Half & Half vs. 30% cream
Browned chicken in fry pan then finished in the oven at 375 F
Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken with Fennel Frond Pesto Cream Sauce
Dry chicken and pat with flour. Wrap with prosciutto and brown on each side for 3-4 minutes in fry pan with about a tablespoon butter and 1-2 tablespoon olive oil. I lost track of time and mine is a little more “crispy” than planned but still tasty.
Stick pan (better be oven safe) into a 375F oven and finish cooking chicken, maybe 20 minutes or so.
In the meantime, slice up vegetables. In this case, one smallish zucchini, handful of cherry tomatoes (split in half) and about a tablespoon or so, chopped shallot (don’t worry about being exact
Put all the veggies in a bigger than necessary pan with some butter and sauté them. Once done, if the other stuff (chicken and cream sauce) isn’t quite ready, turn to simmer or move off burner for a few.
If you haven’t already, make up your pesto. Here is a great recipe for fennel frond pesto. What a way to use up all the parts of the fragrant bulb! Pesto is great because you can taste it as you go and make adjustments and there isn’t really a wrong way (like it is ok to not put in nuts)
This cream sauce is super simple. I used about a 100 ml of half and half (your liquid measuring cup should also have mls) and about a 1 tablespoon or more of the pesto. Mix together.
When chicken is done, pull out of oven. Turn the heat back on under zucchini if you paused it, add the cream sauce, put the cook chicken in the vegetable pan for a quick minute while you heat the cream through and let the flavors mingle.
Translation services provided by moi-self supported by Bing Translation (even though I don’t “bing” often). Below is a snap shot of the direct translation. Some things just don’t come across and sound like sneezes.
This experiment opens up some many more possibilities for cooking and trying new and old recipes. I leave you with a Polish proverb and its translation, of course, to ponder.
Z niczego nic nie będzie.
From nothing nothing can come.
Strauss, Emanuel (1998). Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs (Abbreviated ed.). Routledge. p. 238.