For the invitations for the dinner party we had last week, I used evite.com to send them out electronically. The title of the invitation was “Let’s Eat!” which I thought fit perfectly and included a menu of everything I was making. Everyone RSVP’d to the invitation with a note about how everything looked delicious, but I found out later that some people were a little skeptical about the onion and fig bruschetta.
I think I was successful at proving everyone wrong, because it was one of the favorites of the night. I have to admit, when I was making the onions and figs I was a little worried the flavors weren’t going to be much to rave about. I guess I proved myself wrong too, because it was absolutely delicious! The onions were sauteed and softened in olive oil, then combined with red wine, red wine vinegar, and sugar, and the figs were simmered in red wine and sugar. The red wine theme pulled the two components together, and teamed up with the creamy ricotta mixture spread on a toasted baguette it was a fantastic combination of textures and flavors.
This appetizer had a time-intensive preparation but it was mostly inactive time like letting the figs soak in water for 45 minutes, and then letting them simmer for 20 minutes in the red wine sauce. Other than that the onions took less than 10 minutes to cook up, and the ricotta mixture was quickly whisked together and ready to spread, and the bread slices quickly toasted up under the broiler. The figs and onions can be prepared ahead of time, so when it came time to serve them, all I had to do was heat up the baguette slices and assemble the different layers. It was another perfect appetizer for entertaining!
Since this recipe is a multi-component recipe, I am posting the ingredients and directions for each individual part, and then how to put it all together at the end.
Ricotta, Fig, and Onion Bruschetta
adapted from bon appetit Magazine
3/4 cup dried black Mission figs, stemmed and quartered
1 cup boiling water
1 cup dry red wine, or red cooking wine
2 tbsp sugar
1 bay leaf
1/8 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp red wine vinegar
Directions: Pour boiling water over figs in a small bowl. Let soak for 45 minutes.
After soaking, drain the figs and place them in a small saucepan. Pour in the red wine, sugar, bay leaf, and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, until the sauce becomes syrupy, stirring occasionally. Add the red wine vinegar and cook for one more minute. Remove from heat and let cool.
1 1/2 tsp butter
1 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium red onion, halved through core and cut lengthwise into 1/2 inch thick strips
2 tbsp dry red wine, or red cooking wine
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tsp red wine vinegar
Directions: Heat butter and olive oil over medium-high heat in medium skillet. Add the onion and suate until beginning to soften and brown, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low and add red wine and sugar. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir until wine begins to reduce, a couple of minutes, then add red wine vinegar and cook until vinegar has almost evaporated. Cool to room temperature. Figs and onion mix can be made ahead of time.
1 cup ricotta cheese, I used part-skim
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for drizzling
1 tsp heavy whipping cream
Directions: Whisk cheese, oil, and cream together, and salt to taste.
8 1-inch thick slices ciabatta bread
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
Directions: Preheat broiler. Place bread slices on baking sheet and brush with olive oil. Broil until toasted 2-3 minutes. The original recipe called to toast on both sides but I liked the bread a little chewier as opposed to being very crispy, so I only did it on one side.
To assemble: Transfer toasted bread to serving plate. Spread each slice with even amount of ricotta mixture. Spoon the glazed figs with some syrup, then top with onion mixture. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and chopped oregano. Serve up!