Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fig and Goat Cheese Crostini

3 tablespoons minced shallot
2 (3-inch) fresh thyme sprigs plus 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1/2 Turkish or 1/4 California bay leaf
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 lb dried Black Mission figs, finely chopped (3/4 cup)
3/4 cup Port
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
12 (1/2-inch-thick) diagonally cut baguette slices
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 oz soft mild honey goat cheese at room temperature
2 fresh ripe figs, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Garnish: fresh thyme leaves

Make savory fig jam:
Cook shallot, thyme sprigs, and bay leaf in butter in a 1- to 1 1/2-quart heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring, until shallot is softened, about 2 minutes. Add dried figs, Port, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Simmer, covered, until figs are soft, about 10 minutes. If there is still liquid in saucepan, remove lid and simmer, stirring, until most of liquid is evaporated, 3 to 4 minutes more. Discard bay leaf and thyme sprigs and transfer jam to a bowl. Cool, then stir in minced thyme and salt and pepper to taste.

Make toasts while jam cools:
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat to 350°F.

Arrange baguette slices on a baking sheet and brush tops lightly with oil. Bake until lightly toasted, about 7 minutes. Cool on baking sheet on a rack.

Assemble crostini:
Spread each toast with 1 teaspoon fig jam and top with about 1 1/2 teaspoons goat cheese and 2 pieces fresh fig.

•Fig jam can be made 1 week ahead and chilled, covered. Bring to room temperature before using.
•Toasts can be made 1 day ahead and cooled, then kept in an airtight container at room temperature.

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