Manchego and Fig Panini and a Fig Blog Hop

It’s fig season in Israel and it is glorious. I’ve never before lived somewhere with such a wealth of gorgeous fresh figs. Seeing them piled high at the shuk just makes me smile. There are few fruits as pretty as figs, and their subtly sweet flavor makes them a perfect foil to savory dishes – and in particular cheese. I love to stuff figs with goat cheese or ricotta and drizzle with balsamic or honey, baked or raw. I’ve been making crostini out the wazoo featuring figs, paired with toasted bread and brie or salty white cheese. And for a special lunch treat, panini. My favorite combination is this manchego and fig panini.

Fig season in Israel - Mahane Yehuda Market

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Manchego is a lovely Spanish sheep’s milk cheese that comes from the La Mancha region. It’s aged for at least 60 days, and has a mild but distinctive flavor that I just love. It is often paired with quince paste, but figs give quince paste a run for its money. If you can’t find manchego, really any cheese would be great here (in Be’er Sheva I found a decent Manchego at Tiv Tam).

Manchego and Fig Panini

You could add other things to this panini – some baby lettuce leaves, roasted onions, or aged balsamic all come to mind. But with good cheese, fresh figs, and hearty bread, you really don’t need much else. I’m calling this a panini, but you could just as easily call it a grilled cheese. Whatever you call it, it’s one special sandwich.

5.0 from 7 reviews
Manchego and Fig Panini
 
Prep Time
Cook Time
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This manchego and fig grilled cheese makes for one special lunch. And it couldn't be easier to make! If you can't find manchego, gruyere would me a good substitute (or, really, any cheese).
Author:
Recipe Type: Entree
Yield: 1 sandwich
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon butter (optional)
  • 2 even-sized slices of spectacular, hearty bakery bread
  • 1¼ ounces (36 grams) manchego (can be a little more or less)
  • 1 large or 2 small fresh figs, sliced
Directions
  1. Melt butter, if using, in a nonstick pan over medium-high heat until just bubbly.
  2. Add the bread and toast lightly on both sides.
  3. Distribute cheese evenly between both slices of bread.
  4. Arrange figs on one side and carefully close the sandwich. Top with a small cast iron skillet or non-electric panini press to weigh it down slightly.
  5. Toast for a few minutes on both sides, until cheese is fully melted. (Alternately, prepare this in an electric panini or sandwich press).
Notes
Kosher dairy, Vegetarian


31 thoughts on “Manchego and Fig Panini and a Fig Blog Hop

  1. Lisa

    What a fantastic idea for panini. I can only imagine how well the melted manchego melds with the figs! Love it! I linked up a recipe from 2008, so the photos are pretty bad – but the tart is amazing!

  2. Stacy

    You are so right that the salty cheese goes perfectly with the sweet figs! What an amazing sandwich! It’s fig season in Egypt too so soon I will be making one of my favorites: roasted figs that are then stuffed with blue cheese and drizzled with honey.

    Meanwhile, I am linking my grandmother’s very simple recipe for fig preserves.

    Stacy

  3. Lynne Drysdale Patterson

    Katherine,
    You have a fabulous blog! I love Israel and the Jewish people. My husband, Bruce, and I want to visit someday.

    Thank you for blessing us with this recipe. Sounds delicious! Keep up this great work. I look forward to your next adventure in Israeli foods. How about an interesting Rosh HaShanah recipe?

    Shalom,

    Lynne

  4. Judee @ Gluten Free A-Z

    OH!! Those figs!! They do look gorgeous.. Not something we see around here..although we have been reaping the benefits of fig season in some of the supermarkets in Philadelphia. I’ve linked a fig and hazelnut platter. Thanks for hosting

  5. Willow

    Oh, I am so jealous of all those figs! When they are available here (for a few short weeks) they’re scarce. I always try to nab a carton when they are around, though!
    That panini sounds just perfect. Manchego is such a perfect pair for figs! 🙂

  6. Shut Up & Cook

    How right you are.

    Figs + something savory, preferably like a delicious melted cheese are just to die for.

    I do a fig and prosciutto flat bread that is grilled and is utterly addictive. Fig jam makes it easy, but fresh figs would be even better.

    Beautiful as always, Katherine!

  7. Hannah

    Lovely recipe and blog hop, Katherine! I adore figs, both in savory and sweet form. I am going to roast figs with honey tonight as part of our appetizers. It’s a wonderful season! Enjoy your weekend!

  8. mjskit

    I don’t have a fig recipe to contribute which is actually sad now that I think about it because I love figs! However, even if I don’t link to our hop, I will be surfing the recipes. A great fruit to celebrate right now!

  9. Sharon | Chinese Soup Pot

    Hi Katherine! Figs are indeed pretty fruits, and they taste great! After reading this post, I am getting the idea to pair up the fresh figs I have in my fridge with the fresh mozerella cheese I have. This is probably not as good as the manchego cheese….but I think it will still turn out decent as a snack! =)

  10. kitchenriffs

    Wow, manchego and figs? I haven’t tried that combo, but it sounds spectacular. Love the idea of making this into a grilled cheese sandwich (OK, panini, but in my book it’s just a fancy grilled cheese sandwich!). Nice stuff – thanks.

  11. Aravinda Tota

    I think that figs are so intensely sweet is the thing that makes them work so well with salty or savory foods. I love to have a nice toasted crust of bread with a bit of tahini and fig jam for breakfast. Loved your stunning pictures and perusing the recipes. Thanks!

  12. Nami | Just One Cookbook

    Hi Katherine! I really love figs and your fig panini totally excites me. I didn’t really appreciate figs while growing up because of texture for some reason, but after being an adult, I am consuming them like crazy now to make up for it. I haven’t had Manchego cheese, but I’ll be trying this cheese with this fig! I love panini for lunch!

  13. Terra

    I wish I could find fresh figs easier here, they are beautiful! Sorry I haven’t stopped by in a bit, hope you are doing well! Your panini sounds delicious:-) Hugs, Terra

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