On approach into Paris you could almost see the chill in the air. The sky was gray with a slight mist hugging the ground. When the airplane door opened, I wished I had a fashionable and warm scarf draped around me instead of my navy blue airline uniform. I know often there is a bone chill in the morning air, and as the day arrives, the warm breath of approaching autumn heaves a sigh. Fortunately, this was the case that day. In the late afternoon sun, my crew and I met to share our day before we went to dinner. We had reservations at, Le Vin dans les Voiles, a restaurant we had never been to before, but was recommended to one of us. It's on the outskirts of Paris in the 16th arrondissement, on a tiny street that isn't even on many maps.
The restaurant itself is so small that the owner, Phillipe, graciously handles all of his patrons. Each of us ordered different things from the chalkboard menu and one choice was as tasty as the next. I started with Fresh Figs wrapped in Prosciutto, topped with a Balsamic Glaze and served with salad greens. A blended wine from the South of France was carefully suggested by Phillipe. It was robust with the complexity of four blended grapes: 46% Carignan, 30% Syrah, 19% Grenache noir and 5% Mouvèdre, from Bernard Magrez Vineyards. The name translated means, "If my father knew". While I'm not sure exactly what his father didn't know, it lends to good dinner conversation!
My main course was a Filet Mignon with a Green Peppercorn Sauce and roasted potatoes. I finished with a softly baked Cream of Chestnut Cake with Creme Anglaise swirled with chocolate. Feeling very full and satisfied and needing an after dinner walk, I discouraged one of my friends from using her favorite 4 letter French word..."Taxi!!" We compromised and walked across the Pont du Garigliano before taking the metro back to the hotel.Back at home in Boston, the same morning chill worked it's way into a warm, yet crisp day. And I wanted figs...figs with prosciutto. I had port wine that I made a reduction with, instead of the balsamic vinegar glaze that was on my figs in Paris. Comté cheese, and arugula with some of it's blossoms from the garden, sounded good too. I sprinkled a little fleur de sel on it at the finish. The slight crunch of the salt on the peppery arugula worked very well together. With food this good I'll be able to embrace tomorrow's arrival of fall.
Figs and Prosciutto with Cheese and Port Wine Glaze
4 fresh figs, washed
4 slices prosciutto, sliced paper thin
4 slices of Comté cheese, or other cheese of your choice
a large handful of arugula, rinsed
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Toss the arugula with the olive oil. Divide the arugula in half and place each portion on a salad plate. Wrap a slice of prosciutto around each fig and place on top of arugula. Arrange the cheese on the plate,
Port wine Glaze
1 cup Port wine, ruby or tawny*
*You don't need expensive port, but as with any wine that you cook with, make sure it is a wine you would enjoy drinking.
In a small saucepan, reduce the wine over very low heat. The wine should not simmer, but just steam to evaporate. Reduce the wine to 2 tablespoons. This will take about 45 minutes. Keep a close eye on the wine as it reduces, since it can quickly burn.
Makes 2 tablespoons of Port wine glaze. Allow 1 tablespoon per serving.
Figs and Prosciutto with Comté and Port Wine Glaze recipe (pdf)