Everybody seems to be writing about “back-to-school” recipes this week. I don’t plan on entering a classroom anytime soon, and I certainly don’t have any kids to be packing lunches for (thank God), but I figured I would riff on the “back-to-school” theme today anyway. I like to be trendy.
To be honest, the recent back-to-school hype has made me feel pretty nostalgic. As a kid, I was a big fan of going back to school. Sure the end of summer was sad, but while all my friends were wallowing, I was practically giddy with excitement. A new school year meant so many badass things…Haircuts and new clothes and school supplies, oh my!
Obviously, finding the perfect “first day outfit” was the most critical aspect of my back-to-school preparations. I would spend weeks planning my ensemble, hoping to make a splash on the big day. Some years were a greater success than others, but looking back, I feel confident saying that I’ve always made bold fashion choices. Cornrows with velvet butterfly clips may not have been my best look, but I guarantee people admired my risk-taking and stylistic flair.
My love of new school clothes was matched only by the intensity of my school supply fetish. Few people enjoyed buying notepads and pencils as much as this kid. I practically lived for the annual trip to Staples, and now every time I see a Staples commercial, I have acid flashbacks to school supply shopping and the high I got from organizing my binders during the first week of class. God, I miss subject dividers.
My little sister, Zoe, happens to be starting kindergarten next week, and I’m creepily jealous. She has so many back-to-school years ahead of her! And ten months of snacks and fingerpainting followed by nap time? I could get into that. Although I have told her repeatedly how awesome it will be, Zoe seems unconvinced. She also keeps talking about how she doesn’t want to be a kindergartner, she wants to be a grownup. I explained that being a grownup isn’t all it’s cracked up to be (especially when you don’t have an assistant), and that she should live in the moment/start thinking about her debut kindergarten outfit immediately. (It took an enormous amount of self-restraint not to grab her cheeks and go Billy Madison on her five-year-old ass…”Don’t you say that. Don’t you ever say that. Stay here. Stay here as long as you can. For the love of God, cherish it!”)
Despite my age and lack of offspring, I have really embraced the back-to-school spirit this week. I’ve always viewed the start of September as the beginning of a new year, so I’ve been taking advantage of the last few days of summer to get my shit together. (This is totally going to be my year!) I started by tackling my desk, the bottom shelf of which was stacked with binders of recipes from my Cordon Bleu days, countless pages torn from food magazines, and endless lists of recipe ideas that I’ve been thinking about and meaning to try. Serious hot mess.
It wasn’t easy, but I’m proud to report that I am currently in a state of blissful organization. My office and desk are meticulously ordered, and I now have a fancy Word document of recipes to tackle over the next few weeks. In lieu of a first day outfit, I would like to present a “first day recipe,” which should set the tone for all of the exciting things that will be coming your way on Domesticate ME! this fall. I give you: Flatbread with Fresh Figs, Prosciutto and Goat Cheese.
I’m thrilled that this flatbread was the first recipe that I chose to cross off my back-to-school list, since it exceeded my (very high) expectations in both taste and attractiveness. The combination of sweet and savory is spot-on, and the textural contrast of juicy figs, creamy goat cheese and crumbly bacon is pretty hard to top. Thinly sliced prosciutto gets crisped around the edges, arugula adds a peppery kick, and everything is rounded out by a sweet, yet slightly acidic balsamic reduction. Plus, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, this taste treat is really, really ridiculously good looking. You know I’m a sucker for pretty people food.
I’m going to need you to make this flatbread as soon as possible because fig season is drawing to a close, and I want you to take advantage of these awesome tiny fruits while you still can. Because I love figs, there are actually two layers of them on this flatbread. I sprinkled the raw dough with chopped figs, so they get nicely roasted while the flatbread bakes. Once the bread is cooked, I added another layer of sliced fresh figs, which get lightly caramelized under the broiler to enhance their flavor. They’re tender, sweet, and you will love them. I promise.
If you’re vehemently anti-fig (blergh), I suppose I can allow you to replace them with peaches, plums or strawberries. However, I recommend giving figs a fighting chance, peeps. They’re perfectly ripe right now, and they have a unique hearty sweetness that’s to die for. My Dad hates figs, and even he raved about this flatbread last night. (He’s also been Paleo for several years, so you know that if he’s breaking Amish to get involved in this flatbread, it must be pretty boss.)
Flatbread with Figs, Prosciutto and Goat Cheese is the perfect end of summer recipe. It’s simple and fresh, and it can be eaten as a light meal or served as a fancy appetizer at your end of summer gatherings. Prep is minimal, especially if you decide to use store-bought dough (no judgment), and there’s only fifteen minutes of total cook time. You’re welcome. If you plan on grilling for Labor Day, I suggest cooking this flatbread right on the grates. The added smoky flavor has the potential to take this recipe to a whole new level of greatness. Summer is on its way out, but flatbread is in. Happy back to school week, friends!
Flatbread with Fresh Figs, Prosciutto and Goat Cheese: (Serves 4-6 as an appetizer)
12 ounces store-bought or homemade pizza dough at room temperature (If you’re going the homemade route, I suggest using this recipe.)
1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Fresh ground pepper
8 ounces fresh goat cheese, divided
6 ripe black mission figs, divided
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2 ounces prosciutto, very thinly sliced
½ cup arugula
2 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
Preparing your Flatbread:
-Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees.
-Roll out the pizza dough on a floured surface into a large rectangle about ¼-inch thick. It will be about 14×8 inches. (Don’t worry, it doesn’t need to be perfect.) Transfer the dough to a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush the dough with olive oil and season with salt and fresh ground pepper.
-While your flatbread is cooking, prepare the balsamic reduction. Pour the balsamic vinegar into a small pot and simmer over low heat for about ten minutes until it has reduced by half and become syrupy. Remove from the heat and allow it to cool slightly.
-When your flatbread is cooked, carefully remove it from the oven. Top the flatbread with the prosciutto. Thinly slice the remaining four figs, and arrange them in an even layer on the prosciutto. Crumble the remaining 2 ounces of goat cheese over top.
-Top your flatbread with the arugula and crumbled bacon and drizzle with the balsamic reduction. Slice and serve immediately. Get figgy with it.
- 12 ounces store-bought or homemade pizza dough at room temperature (If you’re going the homemade route, I suggest using this recipe.)
- 1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Fresh ground pepper
- 8 ounces fresh goat cheese, divided
- 6 ripe black mission figs, divided
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 ounces prosciutto, very thinly sliced
- ½ cup arugula
- 2 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
- Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees.
- Roll out the pizza dough on a floured surface into a large rectangle about ¼-inch thick. It will be about 14x8 inches. (Don’t worry, it doesn’t need to be perfect.) Transfer the dough to a parchment lined baking sheet.Brush the dough with olive oil and season with salt and fresh ground pepper.
- Crumble 6 ounces of the goat cheese onto the dough. You may also use a knife to spread it in an even layer if you like. Cut two of the figs into a small dice, and sprinkle them over the dough. Transfer your flatbread to the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes, until it is lightly brown and cooked through.
- While your flatbread is cooking, prepare the balsamic reduction. Pour the balsamic vinegar into a small pot and simmer over low heat for about ten minutes until it has reduced by half and become syrupy. Remove from the heat and allow it to cool slightly.
- When your flatbread is cooked, carefully remove it from the oven. Top the flatbread with the prosciutto. Thinly slice the remaining four figs, and arrange them in an even layer on the prosciutto. Crumble the remaining 2 ounces of goat cheese over top.
- Place the flatbread under the broiler for 2-3 minutes until the prosciutto crisps around the edges and the figs become slightly caramelized. Top your flatbread with the arugula and crumbled bacon and drizzle with the balsamic reduction. Slice and serve immediately. Get figgy with it.
I’m psyched to be a part of Food Network’s Summer Fest this week. For more amazing fig recipes, check out the blogs below.
Feed Me Phoebe: Gluten-Free Cheesecake with Fresh Figs and Honey
Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Roasted Fig Greek Yogurt Chai Spiced Sorghum Parfait
Devour: A Perfect Pairing of Figs and Pizza Dough
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Fig and Grand Marnier Jam
Red or Green: Roasted Fig, Beet and Orange Salad with Maple Syrup and Jalapeno Vinaigrette
Dishing: Fig Lassi (Fresh Fig Yogurt Smoothie)
Weelicious: Homemade Fig Bars
Virtually Homemade: Fig and Plum Crostata
The Sensitive Epicure: Figs with Goat Cheese, Honey, and Thyme
Taste With The Eyes: Frozen Fig with Rose, Almond and Rosemary
Daily*Dishin: Fresh Figs with Lemon Cream
FN Dish: Go Big with Fleeting Figs