There are endless ways to serve these skewered honey-glazed figs. Try them hot off the grill as an appetizer, accompanied by small chunks of sharp aged Gouda, Cheddar, aged goat cheese, or Dry Jack, a favorite cheese from California. Sometimes I serve the warm figs, still on their skewers, on a bed of lightly dressed salad greens sprinkled with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, or draped with a thin slice of prosciutto di Parma or Black Forest ham. They also make a nice snack accompanied by thinly sliced ham or salami, slivered crisped fennel and black olives. I use them to garnish fig risotto, grilled meats, pan-seared duck breasts, Cornish hens, or roasted chicken. To keep the rosemary sprigs from burning, soak them in cold water before skewering the figs.
Yield: Makes 4 servings
4 stems fresh rosemary, each about 6 inches long
4 large firm ripe figs, any variety, stems trimmed, halved lengthwise
¼ cup honey
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Strip the leaves from the bottom of the rosemary stems, leaving about 1 inch of leaves at the tip. Finely chop 2 teaspoons of the stripped rosemary leaves and set them aside.
2. Place the stems in a bowl and add cold water to cover; soak for at least 30 minutes. Drain the stems and blot them dry.
3. Skewer 2 fig halves crosswise on each rosemary stem. Arrange the skewers, with the cut sides of the figs facing up, on a plate. Stir the honey and lemon juice together in a small bowl, and brush the honey mixture over the cut sides of the figs.
4. Preheat the broiler or grill.
5. Grill or broil the figs until they are lightly browned and softened, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Sprinkle evenly with the reserved rosemary leaves and some black pepper.