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Fresh Fig Crostini With Bûcheron Cheese and Thyme

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I've always had a weakness for fresh figs. When fully ripe, their flavor is absolutely sumptuous.

Figs are exquisite in desserts or simply eaten on their own, but they're equally at home with savory foods, like these crostini. The contrast of the sweet figs with the pungent semi-aged goat cheese is sublime -- an addictive finger food!

As a last touch, the figs are brushed with aged balsamic, just before the crostini are baked. The balsamic glazes the fruits and intensifies their fresh-fig flavor even more.

Who could resist taking a bite?

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Fresh Fig Crostini with Bûcheron Cheese and Thyme

Makes 24 crostini
Active time: 30 min

24 baguette slices - 1/4" thick
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
8 oz (225 g) bûcheron goat cheese (or other semi-aged goat cheese) - cut in 1/8" slices
sea salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
12 medium Mission or other fresh figs - cut in half lengthwise
1 1/2 teaspoons aged balsamic vinegar

1 large jelly roll pan

Preheat oven to 450°F (230°C).

Step 1: Brush the baguette slices with a little olive oil. Place them oiled-side-down on a baking sheet. Place a thin slice of the goat cheese on the un-oiled side. Dab the cheese and the bread with a little olive oil, reserving about 1 teaspoon. Sprinkle with the salt, pepper and thyme leaves. Top each crostino with a fig half, cut-side-up.

Cook's note: The crostini can be made up to this point four hours ahead. Cover with plastic wrap and keep in a cool place or refrigerate until ready to bake.

Step 2: Add the balsamic to the reserved olive oil, mix well and brush the figs. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until the crostini are golden around the edges. Remove from oven, place on a serving platter and serve immediately.