Recipes and Ramblings in Italy

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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

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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.