POSTED ON November 17, 2015
Back when food blogging was a relatively nascent phenomenon, I would check in on the handful (or so) that were on my radar every week. I enjoyed the ritual of reading these blogs so much that I timidly began dreaming about writing my own food journal. Observing through pictures and words what these cooks and writers made in their kitchens was endlessly fascinating to me and I found myself wording what I might like to type as I cooked dinner. The internet for me (and perhaps for all of us) was a quieter place then – we didn’t have the distractions of so many blogs and there was no Instagram to scroll through. Among the short list of blogs I read weekly was Seven Spoons by Tara O’Brady. It wasn’t the recipes or photography that kept me returning there, although, don’t get me wrong, they were also inspiring; it was the way Tara wrote. She has a gift for weaving the stories of her life around recipes and telling them in a way that immediately draws the reader into her world. Even the titles she heads her posts with get me curious. So when she came out with her own cookbook called Seven Spoons: My Favorite Recipes for Any and Every Day, I was excited to read more of her stories and delve into the recipes she would share. I was planning to make the every day yellow lentil dal or the chia pudding with fruit and golden turmeric elixir but came across some perfectly ripe figs and ended up making the fig toasts that grace the cover —and I’m so glad I did! It sounds simple and something you might think of overlooking; however, when you combine really good sourdough bread (thank you She Wolf Bakery!) toasted, topped with succulent figs and generously drizzled in a grassy thyme infused olive oil (or butter as the recipe calls for) and honey, top and flakey sea salt, the dish is a revelation. Like crostini, this toast holds up well for a while, which got me thinking it would make a great holiday appetizer!
Wishing you a peaceful Thanksgiving wherever you are.
If you happen to be in New York City this Thursday the 19th I am signing copies of my book at ABC Carpet and Home from 5pm to 8pm. There will be samples from At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen, cocktails and lots of other offerings from artisanal food makers. The event link says it’s sold out but they won’t be turning anyone away, please stop by and say hello—
Also, if you’re in the Hudson area after Thanksgiving I will be signing book at Hammertown in Pine Plains on Saturday November 28th from 2pm to 4pm. There will also be drinks and nibbles. Hope to see you!
Tara’s recipe title is fig toasts with buttered honey but since I used olive oil instead I left it out so it wasn’t misleading…you can of course use butter instead of olive oil, which I’m sure is delicious.
Recipe barely adapted from Seven Spoons: My Favorite Recipes for Any and Every Day by Tara O’Brady (Ten Speed Press 2015)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 sprigs thyme, plus more for garnish
3 tablespoons honey
Flaky sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
6 to 8 slices of sturdy, sourdough bread
6 fresh figs
In a small saucepan over low heat, warm the olive oil with the thyme. Allow mixture to sit while preparing other ingredients. Grill or toast the bread and then brush with the thyme infused olive oil. Add honey to the olive oil and thyme and warm until liquefied. Slice the figs thickly and arrange in mosaics on the toast. Use an offset spatula or the side of a blunt knife to squish the figs into the toast, so that the flesh spreads and softens.
Pluck the herbs from the honey and olive oil and discard. Drip the syrup onto the figs from a height, twirling and circling the spoon so that the honey falls in sweeping arabesques. Season the toasts with salt and pepper and a few fresh herb leaves. Serve right away, alone or met with a wedge of Stilton.
never miss a recipe!
The beauty of this recipe is its simplicity. Thyme and figs always pair so well together, and I like the black pepper in this especially. Tara’s recipes always sound delicious!
Yes, Tara has a great of of combining ingredients!
Its always great to make a really simple recipe that tastes amazing!
I love figs with honey, and I think the black pepper is a really nice touch.
Hi Joshua, Yes the thyme, pepper and salt take it to another level for sure!
I’ve been making a version of this for years it’s one of my absolute favourites. The difference is, after I slice the figs I lightly fry them in ghee with thyme so they get all gooey and caramelised before I drape them over the toast. Sometimes I drizzle with a little raw honey and sometimes I don’t want it but a sprinkle of sheeps feta over the top is esseeeential. So so delicious. Would love if you would give this way a try!
That sounds amazing!! Thanks for sharing, I;d love to give it a go when I get my hands on some good figs!
loved finding your site by chance, like many good things we stumble upon, I’m very new to cooking but this looks wonderful and so easy even for me, I will definitely try it this week, we have wonderful red and white figs, olive oil, and thyme here (I am in Beirut!). thank you.
Thanks for your message! I’m sure you have all the delicious ingredients to make these toasts.
Let me know how it goes!
Hi Amy, I just did it. It turned out absolutely wonderful and yummy! thank you. I will try some more of your recipes. L (I just put the photo of my desert on twitter and mentioned you to credit you.)
Thank you Lara! I’ll check it out.
I couldn’t agree more about the internet being a simpler time back then! In the rush of today’s life, we sometimes forget to enjoy more simplicity, like these delicious toasts! I’ve met Tara last year, and although I didn’t know her before then, I became an immediate fan.
Hi Eye Candy Popper,
I know we’ve met on instagram and I’m so happy that you visited me here 🙂
Isn’t Tara lovely! I hope I can meet her inperson soon!
Hope to see you here again soon!
Amy these fig toasts look amazing! Love the flavor of honey and thyme. Great!