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Warm Goat Cheese in Fig Leaf

Pascal Lorange. Photo: Fig

Warm Goat Cheese Wrapped in a Fig Leaf ($16) is one of Executive chef Pascal Lorange’s comfort food dishes at Fig & Olive in New York, Los Angeles and Newport Beach (opening December 2013).  The dish at the LA location features locally sourced goat cheese and lavender honey, and is served with fig chutney, walnut and black olives. Cuisine at Fig & Olive reflects the flavors of the French Riviera coastal region.

As a child, Chef Lorange accompanied his family on weekly trips to the market and helped his parents prepare his favorite dish, pavé de cabillaud (cod steak) with mashed potatoes, parsley and vegetables. From age six, he wanted to continue the family tradition of becoming a chef, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather.

Lorange finds Mediterranean culinary inspiration through yearly trips to Italy, Spain and the South of France, where he travels with Fig & Olive founder Laurent Halasz, discovering new olive oils and local recipes. “Traveling, creating and cooking are my passions,” Lorange says. At Fig & Olive, I am able to bring these simple, uncomplicated flavors to our guests, giving them a taste of some of the best cuisine from the most beautiful parts of the world, focusing on the splendor of the coastal towns of the Mediterranean.”

Photo: Fig

From: Executive chef Pascal Lorange, Fig & Olive Melrose Place, Los Angeles. Yield: 4 servings.

4 fig leaves
8 oz. goat cheese
9 fresh black mission figs
2 oz. mesclun salad
4 Tbsp. walnuts
4 Tbsp. olive oil
8 Tbsp. lavender honey with a sprinkling of herbes de Provence
4 pieces of crostini bread

Fig Chutney:
½ lb. fresh figs
2 oz. red onion
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 sprigs fresh thyme
to taste, salt and pepper

Wash and remove the tip of the fig leaves; cut 4 fresh figs in half and arrange half of them in the center of the leaf.  Top with fresh goat cheese. Drizzle with 1 Tbsp. lavender honey, and cover with remaining cut figs.

Fold fig leaves over to form pouches, and put in a 400°F oven for approximately 6 minutes. Place 4 remaining uncut figs in the oven next to the goat cheese pouches.

For fig chutney: Remove tip from the fig and cut into quarters. Slice red onions and set aside. In a medium pan, sauté the figs with olive oil for 3 minutes. Add fresh thyme sprigs and sliced onions; let cook for 5 minutes (onions should still be crunchy).

In a separate bowl, mix mesclun, walnuts and olive oil, then arrange on the plate. Spread 1 Tbsp. lavender honey next to the salad, followed by a spoonful of warm roasted fig chutney. Toast crostini and place on plate. Remove goat cheese pouch and roasted figs from the oven and place on the plate. Unwrap the fig leaves and add a slice of fresh black mission fig to garnish. Serve immediately.

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