Grilled Figs with Homemade Ricotta and Honey

Photos by Jaymi Heimbuch

The mission fig is quite possibly my favorite fruit. The fruit's outer layer looks painted on with black and indigo brush marks. And then, when you cut into it--the best part--it reveals its soft pink flesh and those delicate little's just beautiful. Plus the flavor does not disappoint. This dish is all about celebrating the mission fig and National Honey Month. Enjoy it with an off-dry Riesling or any floral white.

Homemade Ricotta

1 gallon whole or raw milk 1/3 cup of white vinegar 1 teaspoon salt

1. Heat the milk in a large, heavy-bottomed pot until it reaches 185 degrees.

2. Remove from heat and quickly add the vinegar and salt. Give it a gentle stir.

3. Cover the pot and let stand for two hours or more.

4. Carefully transfer mixture to a cheese-cloth-lined colander. If you don't have cheese cloth lying around, you can easily double-up with two colanders.

5. Let drain for about two hours and then chill. How long you let it drain will effect the milkiness of the ricotta. I prefer mine on the runny side as it just seems more fresh. Also, if you plan to use the ricotta for other dishes later in the week, you are going to want that liquid for storing.

Grilled Fig Salad

1 large carton of mission figs
Homemade ricotta

1. Clean and trim the figs before halving them. Then grill them halved-side down for about 5 minutes. You just want them to char and caramelize a bit.

2. To serve, place a heaping scoop of fresh ricotta in a small bowl and top with the grilled figs. Drizzle it with honey and get prepared for your your biggest foodgasm ever!

This honey is from the Smart Home on display at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry. It was designed by my good friend, and eco-architect extraordinaire, Michelle Kaufmann. But I really suggest you use local honey if you can.

Enjoy the dish. I know I will.

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