1 Tbs. olive oil
8 large Black Mission figs, cut in half
1 Tbs. chopped shallot
1 Tbs. chopped ginger
2 cups port
1 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbs. unsalted butter, diced
8 oz. French Brie
Heat a 12-inch sauté pan over high heat until very hot. Add the olive oil. Place the figs in the sauté pan cut-side down. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook the figs for five minutes without turning them over. Add the shallots and ginger and continue to cook for two more minutes. Add the port, mix, and scrape the bottom of the pan to remove any stuck figs. Stir in the sugar. Reduce the heat to medium and briskly simmer the mixture until the port is reduced by two thirds, about 10 minutes. Stir in the butter and remove from the heat. Let the mixture cool. If the figs’ skin has not broken down, take a fork and mash the mixture.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Divide the fig mixture between two four-inch-wide by 1/2-inch-deep ramekins. Cut the white rind off of the Brie. Cut it into 1/4-inch-thick slices and divide them between the two dishes, placing them on top of the fig mixture. Place the dishes on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for eight to 10 minutes, or until the Brie is melted and bubbling. Serve hot with crostini or your favorite cracker.
Chef’s Note: Figs tend to have a short shelf life and are best eaten as soon as possible. Storing them in the refrigerator tends to change their taste. If refrigeration is a must, place the figs spaced apart on a baking sheet. Don’t cover them tightly or wrap them in plastic. Instead, use a piece of dry linen to form a moisture barrier.