Roasted figs with Parma ham and goat’s cheese

Mary was given this recipe by a friend in Portugal who makes full use of fruits in season.
Serves 6

Ingredients

* 2 x 100g rolls firm goat’s cheese, such as Capricorn
* 6 fresh figs
* 12 slices Parma ham
* rocket or salad leaves, to serve
* balsamic vinegar, to serve
* olive oil, to serve

Method
1. Pop the goat’s cheese in the freezer for about an hour or until firm.

2. Preheat the oven to 220˚C (200˚C fan/425˚F/Gas 7). Cut off the pointed stem at the top of each fig, then stand the figs upright on a board. Cut a cross in the top of each one, but don’t cut right down to the base.

3. Trim the ends off the cheese and discard, then cut each roll into three slices. Cut each slice in half to give semi-circles. Cut half the semi-circles in half again to give quarters.

4. Lie each slice of ham out flat and trim off any excess fat.

5. Put a semi-circle of cheese into each fig where you’ve made the cross. Use the quarters to fit in either side, so the complete cross is filled with goat’s cheese.

6. Wrap each fig in a piece of ham, then wrap it in another piece, working in the other direction. Squeeze the ham together at the top.

7. Roast for eight minutes or until the cheese has melted and the ham is crisp.

8. Arrange the figs on serving plates with some rocket or salad leaves, drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and serve at once.

Variations
Great for a crowd: replace the goat’s cheese with a blue cheese such as stilton. You can simply grate this and use it to fill the cross in the figs.
Prepare ahead: you can prepare the figs up to the end of step six, up to 12 hours ahead. Not suitable for freezing.
Seasonal: when figs are not in season, use skinned, medium-sized, slightly under-ripe tomatoes prepared in the same way. Spoon a teaspoon of pesto over the cheese and tomato before wrapping it in the Parma ham.

More recipes from Cook Up a Feast
Chicken with pesto, taleggio, and roasted tomatoes
Heavenly lemon cheesecake on a ginger crust

Cook Up a Feast, by Mary Berry & Lucy Young, published by DK, £14.99, dk.com. Also available as an eBook from the iBook Store 

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