Recipes and Ramblings in Italy

Food Blog

Recipe of the Week October 24, 2014

Posted by William Abruzzo on October 24, 2014 at 11:30 PM


Crostini di Polenta con Ficchi e’ Speck (Polenta Squares Topped with Caramelized Figs & Telaggio Cheese Wrapped in Speck)

        This week's recipe takes us to the region of VENETO, where fine cured hams and polenta are favorite treats. When my wife and I first moved to our farm in Virginia, I said to her, “We need a fig tree!” That spring, as soon as the weather turned warm, I bought one and planted it in our vegetable garden. That summer, the little fig tree grew wide and tall, and by September we had a dozen or so sweet, succulent figs. They were perfect for sautéing. I decided to serve them with Venetian flare; wrapped with a slice of Telaggio cheese in a paper thin slice of speck and set upon a wedge of grilled polenta. The tasty little bundles were a true taste of northern Italy, where figs make there way into all sorts of sweet and savory dishes. Be sure to pair this treat with a glass of red Valpolicella wine from Verona.



Polenta (1 batch)

Speck (¼ lb -sliced paper thin)

Taleggio Cheese (½ lb)

Figs (6 large, ripe)

Walnuts (½ cup chopped)

Butter (1 tbs)

Black Pepper (to taste)


        Prepare a firm polenta following the instructions on the package. Spread the warm polenta  evenly on a cookie sheet to 1/3 inch thickness and allow it to set. Toast the walnuts in a preheated 375 degree oven for 3 to 5 minutes or until golden. Slice the figs in half lengthwise. Set e frying pan on a medium low burner and add the butter. When the butter has melted, swirl it around to coat the bottom of the frying pan, and then place the figs in the frying pan cut-side down. Saute the figs for 2 to 3 minutes or until caramelized. Then, gently flip them and continue sautéing for another 2 minutes.


        Slice the cheese into bite-sized squares. Lay a strip of speck on your work surface. Place a fig, cut-side up, on the speck. Sprinkle some chopped walnuts on the fig, place a slice of cheese on top, and then roll the speck around the filling. Continue making bundles with the remaining figs. Then, slice the polenta into squares and place each bundle, cheese-side up, on a polenta square. Transfer the polenta crostini to an ungreased baking tray. Place the baking tray in a preheated 425 degree oven for 5 to 7 minutes or until the cheese melts and oozes out of the bundle. Season with black pepper and serve hot. Serves 4 to 6 adults.



Categories: Appetizers, Snacks, Soups, and Salads

Post a Comment


Oops, you forgot something.


The words you entered did not match the given text. Please try again.

Already a member? Sign In


Reply Aliette
1:13 AM on December 31, 2014 
I made these for Christmas appetizers and used sliced pears instead of apples and everyone loved them!
Reply Joe
4:33 PM on November 10, 2014 
I love this idea for finger food. Thnaks.
Reply Debbie from RI
10:29 PM on November 4, 2014 
Hello Bill, Thank you for your wonderful website and blog. I find your recipes are very simple and delicious. This polenta appetizer was just fabulous.

Update Your Status

Update your Recipes and Ramblings profile status!

Google Translator

Search The Site

What's New at Recipes and Ramblings


Twitter Follow Button

Facebook Fanpage Box

Private Cooking Classes

Cooking Classes

I offer private cooking classes for up to six people. Cooking classes are held in my home on Saturday evenings. I specialize in all aspects of Italian regional cuisine, including soups, vegetables, pasta, risotto, meat, seafood and desserts. I will design a cooking class around whatever interests you –whether it is a specific recipe you wish to learn or a skill such as pasta-making. For more details, please take a minute to become a member of my website and contact me via internal email at . 

Bill's Cooking Tip of the Month

Roll Out Pie Dough with Ease Using Plastic Wrap

This is an old trick I learned years ago from my mother. The next time you bake a pie, roll out the dough between sheets of plastic wrap. This will prevent the dough from sticking to your rolling pin and will make it easier to transport the dough from your work surface to the pie dish or baking sheet.

Cover your entire work surface with plastic wrap and sprinkle it lightly with flour. Turn the dough onto the wrap, pat it down to 1 inch thickness, sprinkle it lightly with flour, and then cover it with a second layer of wrap. Roll out the dough to just less than ¼ inch thickness and remove the top layer of wrap. Lift the dough using the bottom layer of wrap, turn it on to a lightly greased pie dish or baking sheet, and then remove the wrap. Its quick and easy! 

Tips on Italian Ingredients

 Frying Tomato Paste Enhances the Flavor and Adds Depth to Your Dish

Many recipes direct you to stir tomato paste into a sauce, soup or stew. However, frying the tomato paste first fully develops its flavor and eliminates any raw or metallic taste. It is a quick and easy way to enhance the flavor of your dish. Tomato paste should always be added at the beginning of a recipe, rather than at the end. This allows its flavor to marry with the dish. Add it immediately after sautéing your aromatics in olive oil or rendered fat. When the aromatics are soft, push them to one side of your pot or frying pan. Place a dollop of tomato paste on the other side, tilt the pot or frying pan to pool the oil around the tomato paste, and let it gently sizzle for about 2 minutes.  After the tomato paste has fried, incorporate it into the aromatics and then add the liquid and other ingredients to complete your sauce, soup or stew. 

Just Picked From My Italian Vegetable Garden!

 Zucchini Blossoms 

My Italian Heritage

 My Great Grandparents, Vita and Onofrio Abruzzo, from the town of Santa Margherita di Belice, Sicily pictured here with my grandfather Vito "Bill" in the center.

Great reads for the Italophile!

Coming Soon!

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day