Some people look at a mud puddle and see an ocean with ships. -Zora Neale Hurston
I've been conditioned to think of Tallahassee, Florida every time I see or eat figs, and today was no different. It all began in the summer of 1990. My two aunts had convinced my grandmother to allow my two brothers and me to come back to Tallahassee, Florida with them after we had begged and pleaded to no end. We loaded up my aunt's infamous Chevrolet Spectrum, that she had driven anywhere the wind blew her, and made the long drive to Monday Court, Tallahassee. It was a peculiar place reminiscent of Zora Neale Hurston's Florida. One of our neighbors was an elderly black lady with snow white hair who would disappear into the woods collecting spanish moss for her home-brewed tea. The neighborhood kids were a rowdy bunch who cursed their elders, threw fireworks at cars driving by, and once, they literally stirred up a hornet's nest. There was also a fig tree behind our house, and I wish I had known the joys of this sandwich back then, but we neglected them, leaving them to ripen and fall off the tree. The overly ripe figs then became play objects for the neighborhood kids as they ran around the neighborhood smashing figs on people's backs. Before returning to Mississippi that fall, we would experience the joys of city life, the glory of the beach, and the magic of Walt Disney World.
It's funny how things change. I was at a conference in Annapolis, Maryland two weeks ago and the vegetarian option for lunch one day was a fig, caramelized onion, and goat cheese sandwich on ciabatta bread. To be quite honest, I didn't exactly jump for joy and I was disappointed that there wasn't a more substantial option. I sulked for all of three seconds and got over it. And, I'm so glad I did. Who would have thunk it, but this combination is fiyahhhhh!!! I couldn't wait to come home and recreate the sandwich.
I went to the Wine Source for a bottle of wine and ended up buying everything I needed for the sandwich right there. The cheesemonger recommended Hoch Ybrig as a great cheese for sandwiches and grilled cheeses, and I grabbed a container of Dalmatia Fig Spread and a mini baguette from their specialty foods section. I then came home and used the leftover pearl onions I bought for the Three-Mushroom Bourguignon to make balsamic caramalized onions, and--voila!--dinner is served.
- 1 mini-baguette or ciabatta bread
- 1 pat of softened butter
- 1 piece of Hoch Ybrig cheese
- 2 tablespoons Dalmatic fig spread
- 1/4 cup balsamic caramelized onions
Adjust oven to low broiler setting. Slice the baguette in half, and if preferred, pinch out a portion of the inside bread. Butter the bread and place the cheese on one half of the baguette. Place on a baking sheet and insert in the oven, about 5" below the broiler. Broil until the cheese is melted, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add fig spread and balsamic caramelized onions. Carefully fold over to seal. Enjoy!