Fig and Pork Belly Crustinis with Goat Cheese and Honey Drizzle
December 13, 2015
What a scrumptious bite of perfection. There are few things I don’t enjoy putting goat cheese in. Maybe granola? My coffee? I definitely don’t not like putting it in my mouth. (See, the double negative there.) Anyway, the sweetness of the figs and honey, the salty chewiness on the bacon and the creaminess of the tart goat cheese seems like a pairing that was destined by the Gods. This tiny little bite of goodness makes the perfect holiday appetizer that is actually quite simple to make and will have your guests asking for more. I don’t want to oversell it, but it’s pretty legit. You know, a perfect pairing… like peanut butter and jelly, milk and cereal, Caitlin Jenner and Kris Kardashian. Okay, maybe not the last one. But 2 out of 3 isn’t bad. Right?
1 long French baguette
12 oz salted pork belly
9 oz dried mission figs (it wasn’t fig season, frown)
4-6 oz of goat cheese (log is easiest for spreading)
3 sprigs rosemary
Honey (3ish tbsp.)
olive oil for drizzling
Begin by slicing your baguette ¼”-1/2” thick. Lay them out on a silicone mat/baking sheet until it is full. (You may have to do two batches.)
Lightly drizzle with olive oil. If you don’t have a spout on top of your olive oil container (or aren’t good at “lightly drizzling”), you could pour it into a small bowl and brush it on with a basting brush.
Turn your oven to a broil setting and allow the slices of bread to lightly brown. This will take 3-5 minutes. But watch them carefully. Because once they begin to brown, they can burn very quickly.
Carefully remove the cooking sheet from the oven and flip the toasted bread over to brown the other sides. This will only take 1-2 minutes. So once again, watch your oven carefully.
Allowing your goat cheese to become room temperature may make it easier to spread. So feel free to remove it from the refrigerator while you prep the fig and pork belly topping.
Cut your pork belly up into 1/8”-1/4” cubes. Mine were kinds rectangles, so don’t worry about being too particular.
Cook them off, until the just barely begin to brown (3-4 minutes). Drain the excess fat at this time.
Slice the figs into medallions about ¼” thick and add them to the pan, along with the finely chopped rosemary.
Cook the pork belly, figs and rosemary together for an additional 5-8 minutes. The pork belly should be crispy, but the figs shouldn’t become too hard from being “fried” in the bacon fat.
Make sure you have your goat cheese on your crustinis at this point.
Use a slotted spoon to scoop the pork and fig mix on top of the crustini, (which will already have been spread with goat cheese).
Drizzle honey over the plate. I probably used 3-4 tbsp total. It just depends on how much sweetness you want to add.
If you want to add some vibrant color, as well as a little freshness to the plate, feel free to top with some watercress. I enjoyed it. But it will not ruin the dish by any means if you don’t have any.