I’ve seen a lot of fresh figs in markets lately and know how delicious they are with blue cheese, usually mixed in salads. But then I remembered this recipe from Peter Ward, proprietor of the legendary Country Choice market in Nenagh, Tipperary, and thought it’s worth sharing if you find figs locally. Ward is a champion of local ingredients, so it’s no surprise that he favors Cashel Blue, made in nearby Fethard, for this recipe. He says, “This dish is a great desert for when you’ve guests over — decadent enough but not too sinful. The figs in syrup (without the cheese) are also lovely for breakfast with a dollop of yogurt.”

CASHEL BLUE POACHED FIGS IN PORT, VANILLA, AND SAFFRON SYRUP

SERVES 4

For the syrup

1/2 cup sugar


1/2 cup water


1 tablespoon Port


1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped out

1 pinch saffron

For the figs and cheese

8 ripe figs, halved


4 ounces Cashel Blue Cheese

1. Make syrup. Combine sugar, water, Port, vanilla bean and seeds, and saffron in a medium saucepan over medium beat. Cook for about 6 minutes, or until mixture is smooth. Drop in figs and continue to poach gently for about 5 minutes longer, or until the mixture is syrupy.

2. To serve, with a slotted spoon, transfer figs to shallow bowls and crumble Cashel Blue on top; spoon syrup over.

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Tags: Cooking, Cuisine, Food, Irish Christmas, Menus, Recipes, Salads

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