Ten years ago, on a chilly late August evening, my husband and I were in a car, suitcases and a cat in tow, zipping across the Golden Gate Bridge. Moments earlier, our plane had touched down at SFO, and we were weary yet excited. We had arrived from Chicago, on one-way tickets, eager to start our life together in San Francisco.
At that time, if someone were to ask, “where are you from?” the response would be fairly longwinded. I would find myself saying, “Well, I was born and raised in New York, but just moved from Chicago, where I spent the last two years…”
For a while, I missed a lot of things from my hometown. Mostly family, friends and food. Whenever I would go back home (and this is still the case), my visits would be marked by eating marathons, to get tastes of the things I missed. On the list: pizza and gyros, hot dogs and falafel, crab meat soup dumplings, knishes with mustard, among many other things. I can’t forget bagels. Chewy, gnarly bagels, slathered thick with cream cheese and topped with thin slices of lox.
Somewhere along the way, I began to think of myself as a Californian. I’m not exactly sure when that happened, but now, I can’t imagine life without dungeness crabs, fresh avocados, artichokes, sourdough, wine, and figs. I can’t imagine living anywhere else.
I find myself with my heart and my stomach attached to two cities.
A few days ago, my daughter begged for some smoked salmon when we were at the market. When I got home, I found myself craving those bagels with lox, but I also could not wait to dig into a handful of fresh black figs.
So I put New York and San Francisco together.
Figs with Cream Cheese and Smoked Salmon, drizzled with Avocado Honey symbolizes the happy union of two amazing places, the sweetness of California with the savory bite of New York. This is a dish that requires the freshest figs and the highest quality smoked salmon you can find. If I had the patience, I might have roasted or grilled the figs, but I just couldn’t wait. My sentimental taste buds were calling.
Figs with Cream Cheese and Smoked Salmon, Avocado Honey
- ripe figs
- cream cheese
- best quality smoked salmon, sliced into thin strips
- honey (I used Honey & Gold Avocado Honey)
Make two cross-wise cuts into the top of the figs, about three-quarters of the way through. Place cream cheese into a piping bag or a zip lock bag with one corner tip cut (since I was in a rush, I used the latter method). Pipe about 1 teaspoon of cream cheese in each fig. Curl a slice of smoked salmon over each piece. Serve with a drizzle of a rich flavored honey.
If you choose to roast/grill the figs, make your cuts before grilling, grill the figs, then complete the assembly.