Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Fig Relish Panini

It doesn't get much better than having fresh, seasonal fruit paired with a really good cheese. There's apples and cheddar, pears and blue cheese, peach mango chutney with a locally made chevre, and today's combination is fig relish with Toma cheese. This is another creation from Plum Gorgeous, and every time I turn the pages of that book I'm inspired by another delicious idea. Our figs arrive at the farmers' markets a little earlier in the year here than they do in other places, and I grabbed some as soon as they appeared. They were cooked to a consistency of jam to make the relish for these panini. Toma, an Italian, semi-hard cheese, was a great match for the relish, but brie would have been another good option. Basil leaves and arugula were layered into the sandwiches, and if you're so inclined, as Kurt certainly was, prosciutto is a fitting ingredient here as well. The panini came out of the press nicely smooshed and melty inside and toasted crisp on the surface.

The only issue I had in making the fig relish was that mine didn't cook down as quickly as was mentioned in the recipe. The figs were stemmed and chopped and placed in a large pot with sugar, champagne vinegar, mustard seed, salt, and water. It was occasionally stirred as it simmered and thickened. The goal is for the mixture to achieve a jam-like consistency, and for mine, that took an hour rather than 20 minutes. You'll want to watch it as it cooks and remove it from the heat when you're happy with the texture. One other thing that I highly recommend is doubling or quadrupling the recipe. I only doubled it, and I'm already regretting not making more. The relish lasts for several months in the refrigerator, so you'll want enough that you can use it several times.

The acidity of the vinegar balanced the sweet figs, and the mustard seed added a nice hint of sharpness. More panini just like these will be in my future as will enjoying the relish with some pieces of cheese and a glass or two of wine. I definitely should have made more than double the recipe.



31 comments:

  1. Droolworthy! A perfect flavor combination.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  2. Wow that sandwich melt is making my mouth water!! Great minds think alike, figs are the perfect ingredient right now! This must have been heavenly!

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  3. That relish sounds amazing and I am sure it would go great with a variety of cheeses. Must try soon.

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  4. Sounds really interesting. I love pairing figs with brie cheese. Next time, I will have them sandwiched and make a panini! Great.

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  5. I've said it before and I will say it again. I just can't do figs. They freak me out. I like the flavor of an already purchased jam so I may try this delicious looking combo with that.

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  6. I love figs and grilled cheese is my favorite; this looks so good. And the pictures are perfect!

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  7. Fruit and cheese is one of my favorite flavor pairings...especially when that fruit is the almighty fig! This looks delicious!

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  8. This has my name all over it!
    It's been so wet here that the fig crop has been scarce. I found 3 at the farmer's market this week, and a dozen a few weeks back, but the rain has put a damper on them. boo hoo.

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  9. love!!! last weekend I saw how figs grow and now I'm even more obsessed with them.

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  10. i love figs !! this recipe is awesome :D

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  11. Your combination of panini sounds so delicious! It's very difficult to find fresh figs here.

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  12. Fruit and cheese are definitely great together. Love the relish spread...very tempting.

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  13. Oh! I just learned a few weeks ago about the combination of fig and cheese and now I see your panini...looks fabulous your relish...
    Hope you are having a great week Lisa :-)

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  14. Are figs still in the markets? I haven't even stopped in at the Triangle in a month or so now that it's so blazing hot outside. My CSA just stopped early for the season due to the drought and low yields so I need to make a trip. I'd hate it if I miss figs this year. Especially after seeing that gorgeous looking panini. I'm a big fan of spreading relish, chutneys, chow chows, and even jam on sandwiches. They can elevate even mundane turkey and provolone.

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  15. Oh, yum, it's like a fig mostarda, really delicious!

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  16. Shelley: There were still figs at the Triangle market today. Hopefully, they'll be there next week too.

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  17. Nothing better than sweet, squishy figs with some sharp or salty cheese. I bet these sammies totally rock. ;)

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  18. What a delicious looking sandwich. I could bite into my screen right now! :P

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  19. What a lovely panini sandwich - fig has a personality all on its own - it offers a fresh sweetness that, when combined with molten cheese and a little rocket, is just heavenly. I agree, prosciutto would be a delicious add-in.

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  20. Oh, Lisa, I couldn't agree more! Fruit and cheese is a match made in heaven - or Mother Nature! This sandwich is stunning! Wow! And the Fig Relish sounds fantastic!

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  21. Gorgeous, Lisa! I'm patiently waiting for the arrival of figs at our market. Soon, I hope.

    Your Panini is stunning. Thanks for the tips and the insight and of course for sharing...

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  22. Wonderful picture of this sandwich. It calls to me.

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  23. it's one thing when recipes are just a wee bit off, but checking on your reduction for an hour when you expect 20 minutes would drive me crazy! regardless, this is an unexpected and delicious-sounding sandwich!

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  24. Grace: That's true, the cooking time was a lot longer than indicated, but it really depends on the figs. I cut mine in kind of big chunks, so it took a lot longer to get a thick consistency.

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  25. Love this fig relish! I am obsessed with figs and on a panini - what a perfect sandwich. This is a must, must, must try. Have a great weekend.

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  26. Wow, what a sandwich! I need to start looking for figs, can't wait to get my hands on some :)

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  27. Oh yeah, I can see myself eating a lot of these. I love the fig relish idea.

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  28. Is it weird to experience love at first sight with a sandwich?? Love fig 'anything', plus savory, in a sandwich! Bookmarked, if only just to look at until I get to making it, which will be very soon, like before the weekend 'very soon' lol

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  29. Lisa, can you share the fig relish recipe? I only caught part of it in your post or did I miss a link?

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  30. I adore figs in anything and this panini sounds special.

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  31. Sounds great the mix of the brie and the figs is always delicious.. cant wait to try it!

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