SERVES 12 (2 per person)
Figs are harvested twice a year in California, in early summer and late summer or early fall. I always grab a basket or two as soon as I see them at the market. In my opinion, not many other fruits can compete with the sweet flavor and the soft texture of a fresh, ripe fig. Crunchy walnuts and savory pancetta provide the perfect accompaniment to this honeyed fruit.
24 walnut pieces
12 large black mission figs, sliced in half
24 strips of pancetta, very thinly sliced
FOR THE VINAIGRETTE:
2 tsp/10 ml extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp/10 ml balsamic vinegar
1 tsp/5 ml champagne vinegar
2 tsp/1 g mint, chopped
1 tsp/1 g chives, chopped
sea salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350°F/177°C. Chop walnuts and press into the center of each fig. Wrap a piece of pancetta around the fig. Place figs on a baking sheet and cook for 30 minutes or until pancetta is browned. While they cook, stir the vinaigrette ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste. Arrange figs on a platter and drizzle with vinaigrette.