Chicken with figs and gorgonzola cheese
I’ve been a grandmother now for nearly a year and a half and I’m happy to report that I still have completely new experiences quite often. In this instance I am referring to the fact that I walked up to a laden fig tree in the garden of the villa we were staying at in Italy for our summer holiday and picked a plump ripe fruit right off there and took a bite. Blew my socks off! I mean I know I love figs. I always have. Even the dried ones. But my oh my, having a bowl full of figs that you have just picked with no shortage of replacement, is a whole new experience for this small island girl.
We had figs chopped into our lunchtime salad everyday and I made some bread swirls with figs and lemon, but this chicken stuffed with figs and gorgonzola was nothing short of sumptuous.
You know I like to bandy about the name “locavore” meaning you eat what is fresh and native to the place in which you are. Well…gorgonzola cheese takes its name from a town called “Gorgonzola” near Milan and it is lovely with its creaminess and tart blue veins. Made from unskimmed cow’s milk, gorgonzola seemed like a natural partner for figs. Gorgonzola comes as “piccante (spicy) or dolce (sweet)” The dolce variety is creamier and softer and this is what I chose to use with my chicken and figs.
Chicken with Figs and Gorgonzola Cheese Recipe
6 chicken breasts cut in half lengthwise
250 g gorgonzola
250 g fresh figs roughly chopped
grated zest of 1 lemon
bunch of herbs (I used parsley and basil)
healthy glug of good olive oil
splash or two of good balsamic vinegar
salt on each layer
Splash some olive oil onto the base of the casserole dish and place a layer of the chicken, and as in the photo above, spread half the gorgonzola and all the figs. Roughly chop the herbs and spread them too, with a gentle application of both olive oil and balsamic. Sprinkle on the grated lemon zest, bit of salt and cover with the other half of chicken and the remaining gorgonzola.
A word about balsamic….please only use a really good, aged one with this recipe as the more common ones are too acidic and frankly would diminish the sweet, mellow flavour which is what you are trying to achieve.
Cook uncovered in a moderate oven (180ºC, 350ºF) for about 35 to 45 minutes depending on your oven. Check for readiness by surreptitiously cutting through a thick part of the chicken. If pink, leave in the oven for 2 or 3 minutes more. Try not to overcook. This recipe produces a great deal of delicious juices.
This chicken pairs nicely with any crisp vegetable, and was very nice the next day cold with our salad. You may have noticed that I made this again as the casserole dishes are different. The second time, we included stuffed courgette flowers and crispy bread for mopping up those juices.