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Stuffed Poached Figs with Jamón Serrano
Recipe by MicheleM
Yield 12 servings
1/2 cup good balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 dash black or pink pepper
12 or so -- dried Canadria or fresh ripe figs
a handful -- dry-roasted almonds
4 ounces Manchego cheese (Ibérico, Gorgonzola, or any firm aged cheese will work)
4 large strip Jamón Serrano or prosciutto
12 -- toothpicks
Prepare the figs for poaching by cutting off stem tops and cutting a little criss-cross shape at the top of the fruit. In a small lidded sauce pan, arrange the fruit stem side up.
Add the poaching "bath" of balsamic vinegar, water with a dash of pepper, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cover the pan and lower the heat (very low). Cook slowly until the figs are soft and the liquid has reduced to a syrup at the bottom of the pan (10 or 15 minutes for dried figs, less time for fresh ones). Remove the pan from heat and gently roll the figs in their sauce, until they are coated. Leave them to rest a few minutes.
While figs are cooling, cut cheese into thin wedges, and slice the jamón into strips (about 1/2 inch thick).
When figs are cool enough to handle, stuff the cheese wedges and one or two almonds into each fig, and wrap fruit with a little "skirt" of ham. Secure the jamón with a toothpick.
Plate the tapas, drizzle with the remaining vinegar reduction from the pan, and serve with wine or another beverage.