by J.M. Hirsch in Recipes, May 26th, 2011
by FN Dish Editor in View All Posts, October 24th, 2008
A jam would seem an unlikely ingredient to be overlooked.
After all, legions of parents rely on the many offerings of the grocer’s PB&J aisle to maintain peace with the lunch-box crowd.
Except that when you peer past the usual suspects — strawberry, raspberry, grape, apricot — you find some seriously wonderful hidden jam gems that belong as much at the dinner table as they do slathered between slices of bread.
My favorite? Fig.
Fig jam has a thick, almost dense consistency and a rich, full sweetness that isn’t cloying the way many preserves are. My theory on that? Much of the sweetness comes from natural sugars; figs have one of the highest sugar contents among fruits.
Except they aren’t technically a fruit. Figs actually are flowers folded in on themselves. The tiny, crunchy seeds inside are the fruit. But I digress.
Find out what you can make with fig jam »
Contrary to popular belief, FN staffers are not treated to mind-blowing tastings and delicious snack breaks daily. We pack lunches or grab take-out like everyone else. However, special occasions sneak up on us and when they do, they are not to be missed.
Food Network recently launched its brand-new magazine (which makes me insanely hungry every time I thumb through it). To celebrate, our test kitchen chefs served up one feature called 50 Toast Toppers. It’s my guess that our diligent cooks actually tackled all 50 but I lost count somewhere around 27.
The spread was bountiful and impressive which triggered a somewhat embarrassing stomach growl when I walked in. The base for each app was a baked round of French bread, brushed with creamy salted butter. Atop each was a tiny explosion of flavor, whether a bite of gorgonzola, fig jam and prosciutto or hummus with olive tapenade. Sweet and savory made appearances as the team served up tender blue crab with wasabi mayo, an addictive Nutella with tangy orange marmalade and butter-sautéed apples with thinly-sliced ham. The formula was only broken with bite-sized versions of Tyler’s Ultimate Pumpkin Pie. (the dessert featured on the cover). Silky. Sweet. Tart. Crunchy. YUM!
The spread looked complex for a beginner cook like myself. However, a chef confided to me that prep was actually simple. Apparently, I could knock out these toast toppers without issue (or fire alarm). With the holidays around the corner, I’m looking for easy.
Better yet, they are all featured in a pull-out booklet that can live with your cookbooks. Get details on the new FN magazine here.
And don’t miss when Bruce sits down with the magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, Maile Carpenter, on Monday.