I am currently a complete fig addict. I will be sooo sad when the season ends. I've been eating them on bagels, dipped in mascarpone, in tarts, on pizza, plain, etc. etc.
As I kid I was always a fan of Fig Newtons. That was about the most exposure I had to figs. A couple years ago a friend (who also happens to be a chef) had a cheese plate at her party. It had all sorts of fancy cheeses, honey comb, blue cheese drizzled in honey and gorgeous halved figs. That was the first time I'd ever had a fresh fig. I was beside myself with how refreshingly delicious a plain, raw fig could be! I never knew! As the last couple years have passed I've randomly tried to obtain fresh figs only to not be able to find them (since I wasn't looking when they were in season).
A couple weeks ago I attended my very informal, extremely fun and wine-filled book club meeting at my sister's house. As an appetizer she had a giant platter of quartered figs with a bowl of whipped mascarpone, honey and vanilla. I must've eaten half the platter. The figs were from her tree in the backyard. Lo and behold, that very next week I received a ton of figs in my CSA box. I was beyond stoked (though sad to find that they weren't nearly as tasty as my sister's). At the book club there had been talk of making a tart with the figs, so that was what I did! I found a very simple recipe on line, which apparently is THE recipe since I found the identical recipe on about five different sites, each boasting it as their own. I don't know who's recipe it is, but it turned out fantastically, so here it is!
Caramelized Onion, Fig and Goat Cheese Tarts
(I went the lazy route and just used frozen puff pastry-you need one sheet, cut into fourths to make 4 tarts-but if you want to make your own, here's the recipe for the puff pastry: Puff Pastry)
1 large onion
tablespoon of olive oil
1 heaping tablespoon of brown sugar
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
1. Peel and slice the onion thinly.
2. Heat a large sauté pan and add the olive oil and onions over a low heat.
3. Gently cook the onions without color for 10 minutes or until they’re very soft.
4. Add the brown sugar and balsamic vinegar and continue to cook over a low heat and stirring frequently for 20 to 30 minutes.
5. Once the onions are beautifully soft, ‘caramelized’ sticky and jam like, set aside to cool.
(I have to be honest, I didn't measure any of the above. I had a huge onion from my CSA box that I used. The recipe I followed called for 3 medium onions...with my one big onion I had more than enough. I just poured some olive oil and vinegar in when it was time, no measuring and did one big spoonful of brown sugar, though the recipe called for 2-3 tablespoons. I find onions tend to be quite sweet on their own, especially when coupled with balsamic AND figs.)
I split the onions into 4 equal portions and spooned into the tart shells. I pinched the edges of the puff pastry so that they sort of made a little bowl for the ingredients. Next I sliced about 2 figs (each into 4 slices) per tart and piled those in. I then crumbled goat cheese on top and popped into a preheated oven at 375 for about 25 mins, or until the puff pastry is a nice golden color.
SUPER tasty! Enjoy!!