Saturday 24 February 2018

Figs Wrapped in Pork Belly With Lavender and Buffalo Mozzarella

The Ethicurean

Figs wrapped in Pork Belly with Lavender and Buffalo Mozzarella

Compromise is difficult when you are a big fan of figs. They are wonderful when they are ripe, but not really worth tasting at any other stage. The problem is that they are so difficult to transport that either you have to grow them yourself or be close to a good source.

Figs have a natural affinity with salty ingredients and are commonly served with prosciutto. However, we find that the crunch of the fig seeds is greatly enhanced by the crispiness of the cured pork belly in this dish.

Honey and figs is another combination that works remarkably well. We tried it with lavender honey and found that it was even better. It made sense then to use stalks of lavender to attach the pork belly to the fig.

The creaminess of the buffalo mozzarella balances the sweetness of the honey and figs with the saltiness of the pork belly.

Serves four.

YOU WILL NEED

8 ripe figs

1 buffalo milk mozzarella, sliced into 8 pieces

16 slices cured pork belly, such as pancetta

16 lavender spears, from lavender in flower

4 tsps lavender honey

Method

Heat the oven to 200°C/Gas Mark 6. Wash and dry the figs, taking care not to damage the skin. Cut a cross 2-3cm deep through the stem of each one and open the fig up like a flower.

Stuff a slice of mozzarella into each fig, then wrap two slices of cured pork belly around the outside. Spike each fig with two lavender flower spears to hold the pork in place during baking.

Put the figs in a baking dish, drizzle half a teaspoon of lavender honey over each one and cook for 10-12 minutes, until the pork belly is crisp and the figs have lightly caramelised. Cool slightly before serving.

Irish Independent

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