Earn title of ‘gourmet’ with these proscuitto-wrapped figs

Book: "Recipe Rehab: 80 Delicious Recipes That Slash the Fat, Not the Flavor," by the editors at Everyday Health with JoAnn Cianciulli and Maureen Namkoong; 178 pages, $21.99. Published by Harper Wave.

In their own words: "Throughout the book you'll find tips and tricks that will help you get creative and rehab your favorite over-the-top recipes with improved cooking techniques and smart ingredient substitutions." — Candice Kumai, one of the 12 chefs who contributed to the book

What you get: Chapters are divided in Power Breakfasts, Simple Starters, Lightened-up Carbs, Dinner Tonight, Quick Chicken, Family Favorites and Classic Desserts. We want to try Creamy Butternut Squash Shells and Cheese (Page 47), Shredded Wheat-crusted Fish and Chips with Tartar Sauce (P. 81), Tofu Thai Curry (P. 113) and Apple Oatmeal Crumble (P. 147).

What we made:



12 fresh figs, either Black Mission or Green Calimyrna

1 ½ ounces blue cheese, crumbled into raisin-size pieces

6 thin slices prosciutto (3 ounces), cut lengthwise into 2 strips per slice


½ cup balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

To make the figs, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut each fig in half lengthwise and stuff a raisin-size piece of blue cheese in the center. Wrap a strip of prosciutto around the fig, covering the cheese. Place the figs, cut side up, in a baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes, until the figs are soft and the prosciutto begins to crisp.

To make the glaze, pour the vinegar and honey into a small pot and put over medium-low heat. Gently simmer until the vinegar is reduced and syrupy, about 5 minutes. Stir in the pepper.

Serve the figs drizzled with the balsamic glaze.

Per serving (4 wrapped figs): 160 calories, 4 g total fat (2 g saturated), 16 mg cholesterol, 485 mg sodium, 7 g protein, 3 g fiber, 27 g carb.

Our assessment: So many recipes today call for bacon. Just in the past few months, I've adding to the mix by sharing recipes for Chocolate Cake on the Grill sprinkled with bacon on top as well as Bacon, Cheddar and Chives Cake Doughnuts. Do a quick Google search for "Outrageous Bacon Recipes" and you'll find things like Bacon Gumballs, Bacon Cupcakes, Chicken Fried Bacon, Bacon Strip Pancakes and Maple Bacon Smores.

Bacon certainly is tasty, and this recipe substitutes a small, paper-thin melt-in-your-mouth strip of prosciutto for bacon. The balsamic-honey glaze provides additional opulence to this dish, which only calls for six ingredients. I served this appetizer recently to a dinner guest, who was pleasantly surprised how something so simple could taste so delicious and luxurious.

Beneath the balsamic-honey glaze and prosciutto is the fig, which, in my opinion, is such an underrated fruit. There’s evidence that figs have been cultivated for many thousands of years, and if you only know them by way of Fig Newtons, you are really missing out. Fresh figs are scrumptious. I was lucky enough to grow up with grandparents who were farmers, and I have fond memories of eating figs right off the vine. Dressed up with a little prosciutto, blue cheese, balsamic vinegar, honey and black pepper, these figs will have your guests calling you “gourmet” — just don’t wait too long to try this dish because fall is the main season for figs, so you’ll find fresh ones in the grocery stores now.