Black Butter-Balsamic Figs with Basil and Fontina Fondue
State Bird Provisions
Stuart Brioza & Nicole Krasinski with JJ Goode
Looking for something to serve at your next dinner party? This dish from San Francisco’s State Bird Provisions’ cookbook (nominated for a 2018 James Beard Foundation Book Award) is a luscious little bite, and easy to make, though it’s certainly impressive. Ripe figs are caramelized in black butter and balsamic vinegar with fresh thyme, then paired with an ultra rich, creamy Fontina cheese sauce. Sweet-savory perfection. For more substantial (and involved) State Bird Provisions dishes, check out their Porcini Fried Rice with Balsamic Spring Onions, Ramps, and Porcini Aioli recipe and Quinoa Tabbouleh with Marinated Tuna, Shiitakes, and Bonito-Rosemary Aioli recipe.
And for more fabulous ways with figs, get our Poached Fig, Walnut, and Blue Cheese Tart recipe, and our Grilled Fig and Orange Blossom Sundae recipe.
For the fondue:
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 2/3 cup shredded Fontina Val d’Aosta or Cowgirl Creamery Wagon Wheel cheese
- 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 turns freshly ground black pepper
- 2 dashes Tabasco sauce
- 2 tablespoons crème fraîche
For the figs:
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 8 large ripe fresh figs (preferably Black Mission or Kadota), halved lengthwise
- 5 thyme sprigs
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon thinly sliced scallion (white and green parts)
- micro basil leaves or torn basil leaves for garnish
Make the fondue:
1Bring the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Immediately turn the heat to very low to keep warm.
2Pour an inch or so of water in a second small saucepan and bring to a boil. Put the cheese in a heatproof mixing bowl that will fit in the saucepan without touching the water. Set the bowl in the pan and turn the heat to medium-low. When the cheese begins to melt, about 30 seconds, pour in the warm cream. Continue to cook the cheese mixture, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the cheese has fully melted, 1 to 2 minutes.
3Stir the egg yolk, salt, pepper, and Tabasco into the cheese until well combined. Turn off the heat, remove the bowl, and stir in the crème fraîche until well combined. Cover and keep warm for up to 1 hour.
Make the figs:
1Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over high heat. Let it bubble and crackle, swirling the pan occasionally, until it stops crackling and turns golden brown, about 1 minute. Continue to cook, swirling constantly, until the butter smokes and turns a blackish color, about 30 seconds more.
2Put the figs, cut side down, in the pan, turn the heat to medium, and cook without stirring until golden brown, about 1 minute. Add the thyme and sprinkle on the salt and pepper. Toss well and continue to cook, tossing occasionally and making sure to brown the round sides, until the figs are deep golden brown and soft but not falling apart, about 2 minutes.
3Add the vinegar to the pan, turn the heat to high, and cook, swirling and tossing constantly, just until it reduces slightly to glaze the figs, about 30 seconds.
4Drizzle about 1/2 cup of the fondue on a large plate, top with the figs and glaze, and sprinkle on the scallion and basil. Serve right away.
Reprinted with permission from State Bird Provisions: A Cookbook by Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski with JJ Goode, copyright © 2017. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Photography credit: Ed Anderson © 2017
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