As summer slowly fades into fall, our menus are starting to change. We’re starting the move from summer squash to butternut squash, from grilled chicken to chicken pot pie. This transition is always a difficult one for me because, while I love fall flavors, I’m not quite ready to let summer slip away. Not to mention, it’s still pretty hot here, and I’ve been drinking my pumpkin spice lattes over ice. We’ve been trying to plan our menu for the week based on what’s showing up at the farmers market. Figs were only available for a short time and seemed to signify that fall was fast approaching. I picked up a pint and knew immediately that I wanted to make jam, and the sandwiches I made with this jam were the perfect way to mark the passing of summer into fall.
This fig jam is super small batch. Don’t worry if you’re not into canning because this makes so little that you won’t even need to bother with keeping it long term. This recipe yields one (or just under one) perfect little pint of fig jam. Eric wasn’t sure he would like this, but I’m happy to report that he couldn’t get enough of it. We used it mostly to make panini, but I enjoyed it smeared onto an english muffin for breakfast too. It also makes a fantastic snack, spread on crackers and topped with cheese. After I made this simple jam, I was wishing I had picked up a few more pints of figs before they disappeared. The jam is a little sweet and has a rich, almost caramelized flavor.
Since I so often see figs paired with prosciutto, I decided to step it up and use this fig jam with speck. My friend Jackie introduced it to me, and now I’m addicted. If you’re unfamiliar with speck, it’s basically a smoked form of prosciutto. Smoking (versus dry cured prosciutto) is what gives speck, in my opinion, a superior flavor. You can certainly use prosciutto if you like, but the smokiness of the speck plays really well with the sweet flavor of the fig jam and the tanginess of the goat cheese. This sandwich was easily one of the best meals we’ve had in a while, and that’s saying a lot for something we made while Eric was home for lunch.
- YIELD: about 1 pint of jam
For the jam:
1 pint figs, stemmed and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons water
Scant 1 cup granulated sugar
For the panini:
4 slices hearty bread
2 heaping tablespoons fig jam
6-8 slices speck
Combine the ingredients for the jam in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Simmer, stirring frequently, until the sugar has dissolved. Increase heat to medium-high and boil for about 8 minutes, until the jam has thickened. Transfer to a pint mason jar and store in the refrigerator for up to 6 weeks.
To make the panini, spread a heaping tablespoon of fig jam onto 2 slices of hearty bread. Add 3-4 slices of speck and a small handful of baby arugula to each. Spread the remaining slices of bread with goat cheese and place on top. Grill on a heated panini press to desired doneness. Enjoy immediately.