During Christmas, undoubtedly the star product for appetizers is ham, whether it's Iberian Cebo ham or acorn-fed Iberian ham. It's something we all look for on the table to enjoy.
However, we always seek a plate full of thin slices to accompany with a piece of bread or some Sevillian breadsticks. Yet, ham can be combined with other products beyond bread, or on the contrary, it can be paired with different types of bread or even in various formats.
We understand that there's a lot of work in the kitchen during Christmas, so we don't want to complicate things for you. We're suggesting 3 simple recipes that practically cook themselves. You can find them on our blog.
Figs with Ham
Depending on the season, you'll use figs or early figs, hence the expression "de higos a brevas" (literally, "from figs to early figs"). Early figs are usually larger and slightly less sweet than regular figs, but they've reached a higher level of ripeness, making them sweeter. Keep this in mind if you're aiming for a sweeter taste.
To start making this recipe, take the Iberian ham slices out of the fridge (if they were stored there) so that the ham reaches room temperature, which will make it easier to separate the slices later.
This process should take about 15 minutes, but the best part is that it doesn't require your attention, so you can focus on the rest. The first thing we need to do is clean the figs or early figs with cold water. If you're using early figs, you'll notice they are probably tougher than regular figs. Don't worry; this is because they tend to be firmer and larger than regular figs.
Once cleaned, take them and remove the stems with a knife. We won't peel them as they might break. Cut them in half without completely separating the halves, then immediately make another cut, as if you were cutting a cross. This cut will cause the fig or early fig to open up like a flower. Make sure the cut is deep enough to easily and naturally separate the sections when you grab a segment with your hand.
Once you have the fig or early fig "flowers" (depending on the season), it's time to carefully separate the ham slices and place them on the plate where you'll later arrange the figs. There are various ways to design a ham plate; choose the one you like best.
Now it's time to put a little oil in a pan, heat it up, and when it's hot, brown the figs or early figs as you prefer. It's a trick to slightly caramelize them and bring out that sweet flavor. One minute is more than enough. Remove them and wait for them to cool down so the ham doesn't cook from the heat.
The Final Touch!
Place the fig "flowers" on the plate where the Iberian ham is waiting and finally, casually fold a slice of ham and place it in the center of the fig. This will make the plate look more playful and dynamic. Why do we use Iberian ham for this dish?
The Iberian ham with its intense nuances and the saltiness from the curing process makes the figs forget their natural sweetness and creates a dish with beautiful flavor contrasts for the palate. The combination of fruit and ham also makes it a refreshing and surprising dish, and the best part is that it's super easy to prepare!