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An uncommon duo: the fig and the pig

Posted: Friday, Aug. 03, 2012

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Chef Troy Gagliardo

"Chef Troy" Gagliardo hosts a weekly cooking segment called "Tuesdays with Troy" live every Tuesday on WCCB News Rising from 7 to 9 a.m. He has made over 300 appearances on the show showcasing over 1000 of his unique original recipes. He was also voted one of the Top Five best chefs in Charlotte in 2013. Troy has penned a cookbook called Pseudo Southern, which has been endorsed by celebrity chef and best selling author Fabio Viviani. His business Motown Spice Provisions supplies some of the top restaurants and country clubs in the greater Charlotte area for the past 10 years. He is a self-taught chef who learned early on the importance of family and food, and the connection between both, from his parents and grandparents. Contact him at troygagliardo@gmail.com. Visit www.cheftroy.net, and follow Troy on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Figs are in season and here in North Carolina, they grow in abundance. If you are lucky, you will find a wild fig tree that no one else knows about. Then you can have them all to yourself.

Harvesting figs isn’t tricky, but timing is everything.

Checking them at least once a day during the busy season is a must. Depending on the variety, the color may vary slightly. When the fig turns a darker version of itself and the flesh has a little give, almost soft, it is time to pick them. Figs will not continue to ripen after being picked so make sure to pick them at the texture that you like to eat them. Figs have a taste like no other. The fruit is only slightly sweet and the texture is that of a strawberry with softer seeds inside. The more ripe the fig, the sweeter they are.

You don’t have to have a fig tree to enjoy them this time of year though. Check local area farmers markets and food stores that are known for their fresh produce. In most stores, you will find two varieties: brown turkey and black mission figs. Either one will work perfectly for this recipe. Try them both and decide which you prefer.

Although they are not known as the best of friends, pig and fig are brilliant together. Bring a little salty/smoky sweetness of bacon to the fig party and it is a match made in heaven, even though it is the least likely of matches. This tart puts the pig with the fig in perfect harmony and is quick, simple and easy to put together. Store bought pie dough is rolled out and smeared with ricotta cheese that is sweetened with honey and combined with perfectly cooked bacon. Top with quartered figs, the edges are folded over, dusted with brown sugar and baked until golden for the perfect seasonal dessert.

Fig-Bacon-Honey Ricotta Tart

• 1 each, pie crust
• ½ pound bacon, thin sliced, cooked, drained, cooled
• 8 ounces whole milk ricotta
• ¼ teaspoon almond extract
• 3 tablespoons honey
• 10-12 each, mission/turkey figs, stem removed and quarter
• 1 each, egg white
• 2 tablespoons, dark brown sugar

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Lay pie crust on a floured surface and roll out to about 10”.

3. Combine bacon, ricotta, almond extract and honey.

4. Smear ricotta mixture on dough leaving 1” rim around dough uncovered.

5. Top with fig, tops facing up, fold over excess dough and brush exposed edges of dough with egg wash.

6. Dust tart with brown sugar, place in oven and bake until golden, about 35-40 minutes.

7. Remove, cool slightly, cut into wedges and serve.

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