I like planking best for small bites and appetizers, not because the process necessarily works better for one-bite treats but because the plank is an instantly cool serving tray (assuming you don't scorch it to death) that adds the aura of outdoor grilling. This is what made these stuffed Peppadews seem more impressive than they actually were. Wanting to do more things along that line, I tried out this recipe for planked figs with pancetta and goat cheese.
Sweet figs and salty meat is an automatic win, so there's not much more to say about that, but some little additions in this recipe make these go beyond the usual bacon-wrapped figs. First, the figs are dipped in Grand Marnier before being grilled. Then they get a topping of goat cheese and a drizzle of honey.
A little smoky, fruity, sweet, salty, and creamy. Bonus was the double duty the plank served for cooking and serving, letting everyone know these babies were freshly grilled.
- Yield:serves 4 as an appetizer
- Active time: 20 minutes
- Total time:35 minutes
- 10 fresh figs, halved
- 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 ounces pancetta, sliced thin and cut into 1/2-inch strips lengthwise
- 3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 cedar planks, soaked for 1 hour prior to use
- Type of fire: two-zone indirect
- Grill heat: medium
Place figs, cut side up, on a plate. Drizzle with Grand Marnier and season heavily with pepper and lightly with salt. Let sit for 15 minutes. Wrap each fig with one strip of pancetta; secure with toothpick.
Dice remaining pancetta. Place pancetta in medium skillet over medium-high heat. Cook pancetta until crisp, 7-10 minutes. Transfer pancetta to paper towel lined plate. Set aside.
Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange the coals on one side of the charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Place planks over hot side of the grill until they start to char and smoke. Flip planks over and move to cool side of grill and arrange figs on top. Sprinkle figs with goats cheese and crisped pancetta. Cover grill and cook until figs soften and uncooked pancetta browns, about 15 minutes.
Remove planks from grill. Drizzle figs with honey. Let cool for 5 minutes, then serve.