Goat Cheese And Fig Buttons?


I don’t really even know what to call these, and I’ll be the first to admit that is one sloppy plate. I was just hell-bent on trying out an idea, and since we have a new baby and aren’t getting much sleep, sometimes all I can do is to try and make an approximation and file it away for later.

Disclaimers aside, this was pretty darn tasty. I got the idea from an episode of Iron Chef America, Battle Brain Freeze (which was really Battle Melon). I believe it was Flay’s side (not Garces) that set some goat cheese with agar, then laid it in a rectangular mold with a piece of melon in the center, and sliced it into cubes.

I wanted to do something similar, but with figs. I didn’t have a mold that was going to work well, so I just set the cheese into a ramekin, and used an apple corer to cut out circles of both it and the figs. Then I cut the remaining skin off of the fig cylinders. The figs take on an interesting alien look when cut this way! I want to do something else with that.

The rest of the plate is just some blackberry honey and balsamico tradizionale, plus a few microgreens which I could have at least taken the time to strew prettily!

By the way, Laura Chenel chevre is my favorite widely available brand. Creamy and tangy, with a thorough but not overwhelming goatiness.

I won’t write out a whole recipe, but here’s how to set the goat cheese – which could be a useful trick for other similar dairy products. Agar has to come to a boil to set, but if you boil the cheese, it will curdle. Yuck. So what you do is bring 1/8 teaspoon of pure agar powder (not the sweetened stuff) to a boil with 1/4 cup of water in a saucepan. Stir thoroughly. Dump out about half the contents (that is just the smallest amount practical to work with), turn off the heat, then whisk in 100 grams of goat cheese. If it isn’t fully melted, put back over the lowest possible flame. As soon as it is melted, pour into a mold and refrigerate. It should set up as soon as it is chilled.

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Posted by Michael Natkin on Wednesday, September 10th, 2008 in Appetizers, Experiments.

4 Responses to “Goat Cheese And Fig Buttons?”

  1. Reply
    September 11, 2008 at 10:58 am #

    congratulations on the new baby! the plate looks like scallops, could be fun for a veggie tasting menu.

  2. Reply
    September 11, 2008 at 8:22 pm #

    The plate looks beautiful and the figs looks yummy!! Congratulations on the new baby!

  3. Reply
    September 12, 2008 at 6:16 am #

    this looks great! I LOVE a goatcheese/fig combination. I used to live in france and would make dishes using dried figs and goatcheese and my friends would all think it was blasphemy that i combined cheese with figs, but they always ended up loving it!!!

  4. Reply
    August 18, 2009 at 5:34 pm #

    Hi Michael,

    I’ve been reading your archives pretty much all day and came across this. I just wanted to assure you that your greens are strewn magnificently. I adore your site, it makes me want to be a better vegetarian. Good luck with your little ones. :]

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