Continuing from part one of Follow That Ingredient, we follow Black Mission figs from the Pudwill Berry Farms stand to The Tasting Kitchen in Venice to get the recipe for a Balsamic Roasted Fig and Goat Cheese Bruschetta dish that Jonathan Gold called "stunning" and one of The Best Dishes of 2009.
"This is probably the most expensive bruschetta in the world to build," says Lane. "You got La Brea Bakery bread, you got Pudwill Farms figs, you got the best balsamic in the world."
Extremely popular since the restaurant's opening, the bruschetta is only offered when figs are in season. For this year, Lane began serving it last Wednesday when he found the figs at the Pudwill Berry Farms stand at the farmer's market. "Pudwill very, very consistently has extremely top quality figs and berries," Lane said.
As for the dish, we followed Lane into the restaurant's kitchen, where he explained the dish amid the structured chaos: "You want a decent amount of black pepper to lay down a bitter quality to bump up the sweetness of the figs naturally. That thyme needs to be there for that sweet and savory that this whole dish has going on, otherwise it's just going to be sweet and weird." As Lane built the dish on one of the vintage plates that he bought at an estate sale, he went on. "Aged balsamic and this piece of toast that my man Pablo is about to take off the grill there. Make it look pretty, Pablo." It did.
Balsamic Roasted Fig and Goat Cheese Bruschetta
From: Chef Casey Lane, of The Tasting Kitchen.
Makes: 1-2 servings
1 basket of figs
2 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon Arbequina or other fruity olive oil
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
4 sprigs thyme
Pinch of Maldon salt
2/3 cup balsamic vinegar, such as La Vecchia 10-year aged
1 clove garlic, cut in half
1 slice of country white bread
Aged balsamic vinegar
1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Toss the figs in 2 tablespoons of olive oil with 4 sprigs of thyme, cracked pepper and Maldon salt. Place in a stainless steel roasting pan and pour balsamic over the figs. Cover roasting pan with foil and roast for 20 minutes.
2. Pull off the foil and roast for 20 minutes, until the figs are wrinkly and the balsamic is glazed and viscous.
3. Brush the toast with remaining olive oil and grill. Rub the cut side of garlic on the grilled bread.
4. Assemble the bruschetta by spreading the goat cheese on the toast, adding the roasted figs, parsley leaves and a handful of toasted walnuts. Finish with a drizzle of aged balsamic.