This dish is as simple as the title implies. Well, it doesn’t necessarily imply simplicity, though with only a handful of ingredients, this dish relies on simple flavors to soar to new heights. I’ve been craving fresh figs ever since I saw xo breakfast post this recipe for fig jam. My daily life was just not complete without figs! And I finally came across a fresh bundle at the Manhattan Fruit Exchange, an incredible produce dealer in Chelsea Market. I also picked up some smoked prosciutto (speck), a bundle of fresh thyme, and a small of tub of imported Italian mascarpone. Because with figs, I felt the need to splurge.
Toast is an anomaly. Bread, charred or lightly golden, crispy or chewy, sweet or savory, rye or wheat, there are a million different outlets for a meager piece of toast. I’ve always loved toast because I’ve always loved bread, and I wanted to find the best way to incorporate figs into toast. I made a piece yesterday in the toaster, topped it with a fresh sliced fig, a slice of speck, and a shmear of mascarpone (the Italian cream cheese). Crackled with salt and pepper the taste was surprisingly bland. Full of texture and beautiful colors, but the flavor was just … meh. I resolved this morning to reinvent it.
Toast with Figs, Speck, and Maple Thyme Mascarpone
Here’s what you’ll need for toast for one:
one slice of your favorite bread (mine is sourdough)
1 fresh fig, any type, mine were black mission, but I had no other options
2 slices smoked prosciutto (speck)
2 Tbsp mascarpone cheese
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp or 6 twigs of fresh thyme, leaves pulled off
salt & pepper
olive oil for drizzling
1. Slice your fig and arrange on a baking sheet with the two slices of speck. Drizzle with olive oil, coat each side, and top lightly with fresh ground salt and pepper.
2. Turn the oven on at 350° and put the sheet in. The oven will probably not reach 350°, but by the time your toast and mascarpone is done, it should be ready. The figs just need to start oozing juice, and the speck will start to look more like bacon.
3. Coat a pan over medium heat with some olive oil, and heat your bread on both sides until toasted. This is by far the most delicious way to make perfect toast.
3. While your toast sizzles, add the thyme and maple syrup to your mascarpone. Stir to incorporate. Add salt and pepper to toast.
4. Lather it on your freshly toasted bread, then top with speck and figs.
5. Bite into this and transcend the bleak idea of “toast.”
The flavors are incredible now! The maple syrup draws out the sweetness of the subtle figs, the salt puts some oomph behind the thyme, and the pepper draws out the hidden smokiness of the speck. Crazy to imagine that the day before this same combination of ingredients tasted like a cloud of air, but today it’s magical!
Give it a shot if you get a chance, and send me some of your favorite unique toast toppings!