Thursday, September 24, 2009

Brie & Fig Jam Panino-- not your ordinary grilled cheese!


DISCLAIMER: This is one of my earliest photos, with my old point-and-shoot. I apologize that this isn't the best photo in the world, and I'll re-shoot it someday.  Please just trust me...Brie & Figs are a perfect match.

Several days ago, I was trying to decide what to do with a basket of fresh Black Mission Figs that I had purchased a day earlier.




I was just so happy to see fresh figs, that I bought them without a specific recipe on how I was going to prepare them. Then I remembered a conversation with my Foodie Friend, Dorothy. She told me how a friend of hers (who is an award winning chef) made a superb fig jam. She guessed that it had orange juice, port wine and finely chopped almonds in it.


So, I decided to see what I could create, without a recipe.  I simply cut each fig in half and scooped out the pulp. The container (12-15 figs...I didn't count them) yielded roughly a cup of the fig pulp (or is it meat?) In a sauce pan I put about 1/2 cup of sugar, the zest and juice of one orange and-- on impulse- a splash of balsamic vinegar. I brought it to a boil, on medium high. I tasted it, and I decided it was missing something. I had some Ruby Red Port Wine (I love cooking with it), so I added about 1/4 cup. While that reduced (about 15 minutes), I quickly toasted a handful of almonds until fragrant (2 minutes in a dry skillet) and then chopped them very fine, in a mini chopper. I added the almonds to the jam, at the end. I tasted it and I was did a happy dance! I didn't photograph how I made this, because I was totally winging it. I quickly wrote down the recipe (which is at the bottom of this page).


What did I do with most of this fig jam?  It has something to do with this ingredient:
Italian Prunes (also called Italian Plums or Stanley Plums)


(I've shared the recipe, and you can see my Bavarian Plum Galette here. )

I had about 1/2 cup of this delicious jam left, so I decided to make a Panini sandwich, with brie and fig jam. I don't own a panini press, but I have improvised my own-- it works great!

I have a square cast iron grilling skillet and a bacon press! I brush on some olive oil and bring it to a medium high heat. Maybe this isn't authentic, but I put a very thin schmear of unsalted butter (trying not to think of fat grams)on some sliced french bread (this happened to be sour dough, from my freezer).


Into the preheated skillet the sandwiches went for just a couple of minutes, and I gave the sandwiches a flip.
The bacon press does a pretty decent job of pressing the bread together, I think.


Two minutes later, these are ready. I present to you...


...a melted brie and fig jam panino!


This is why I wouldn't make a professional food stylist-- this shot is a bit out of focus, I know. I was in too much of a hurry to eat this, while it was hot, that I didn't get the focus just right.  Still, look at that cheese and jam...yummy!


One more shot, from the backside...

Heaven, I tell you. My husband gave this five stars. I caught him rooting in the fridge for more fig jam. It's gone. I'm crossing my fingers that, tomorrow, I can buy more fresh figs. I want to make a lot more of this jam!

TASTING NOTES: Figs and Brie are meant for one another.  Next time, I'd be very tempted to add caramelized, sweet onion to this sandwich... or maybe I'd add prosciutto!   That's why I enjoyed the grilled figs, brie and prosciutto so much, that I made during the summer. That might kick this one up, one more notch. We shall see...

The recipe card for the fig jam and sandwich is at the end of this post.

Buon Appetito!










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15 comments:

My Carolina Kitchen said...

Great looking sandwich. Clever panini press too. Sometimes I have difficulty getting Brie to melt properly on a sandwich. Yours looks perfect.
Sam

Stacey Snacks said...

This has my name all over it!
I made a fig jam last week, almost the same ingredients minus the port, but mine got too thick when I refrigerated it and hardened.
I added water and microwaved it and it was a bit better.
I have to perfect it for next time.
Yummy sandwich....but you knew you I would love it!

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

I often buy things, just because they look beautiful - and then have to figure out what to make. Great work - the thought of brie and fig jam is just making my mouth water right now!

Kim said...

That sandwich looks heavenly and absolutely wonderful! I bet it was really hard to slow down and get a picture of that sandwich :D

Cheryl said...

OH MY GOD WOMAN, I could eat at least two of those, I wish my husband did not hate Brie so much!

Kate said...

Okay, I want to come to your house to eat! This looks great...I so enjoy Brie and then figs? I miss my fig tree!!

Hampers said...

OMG...Your blog looks superyummy. enjoyed your blog very much. Keep it up the good work.

Monica H said...

It's so gooey and melty and not mine. Dang! Your "panini" looks great. I don't have a press either but I use our George Foreman grill. Since it leans forward to drain the grease I usually prop the from up a bit so the cheese doesn't melt and slide out of the sandwich. It does a great job.

Costco had some good looking figs today. Can't say they're as fresh as what you got though.

Debinhawaii said...

Yum--fig jam! What a gorgeous sandwich. Thanks for sharing it with Souper Sundays!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

I love brie and I love figs. This is a beautiful combination. Your jam looks like a wonderful improvisation.

bella said...

What a great combination for a panino....love the oozing out of the bread part....perfectly done! Roz

Danielle said...

omg....that looks incredible!

Joanne said...

Oh boy, this looks delicious! I thought you needed much more figs to make a jam than just one container. You have given me hope that I can do it myself!

A Feast for the Eyes said...

Well, shoot, Joanne! You don't have a profile nor an email address. Go for it! You don't have to buy an orchard to make any kind of jam. Start small and you'll soon get hooked.

Kathy said...

This does look delicous. Last summer, I made a Balsamic Fig Chutney/Jam (it really comes out jammy). I had received a large bag of figs from an aunt (who picked them for me and sent them via mother in law:). In my grocery store, I saw a jar of a balsamic fig topping, to make crostini. I went home to find a recipe to replicate what I saw in the store: nothing. So I had to back to the store, check the ingredients, and follow a similar recipe for quantity (that is where the chutney comes in). It is great. It does have sauteed onions, in it also. Right after this one came out so good, a coworker gave me A LOT of pears, so I made the same thing (except didnt right the recipe, so had to wing it, again), only this time added some toasted chopped pecans. The Balsamic Pear Chutney/Jam is just as good. They both go great w/ cream cheese, blue cheese & camembert. This summer, when I restock my pantry, I will have to try this sandwich!