Open-Faced Fig Sandwiches with Arugula and Parmesan


This dish juxtaposes sweet roasted figs, peppery arugula, and full-flavored Parmesan with warming cayenne.


  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • ¾ teaspoon coarse salt

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced

  • 1 pound fresh figs (any type), halved lengthwise

  • 2 ounces walnuts, toasted (⅓ cup)

  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

  • 6 slices rustic whole-wheat (or white) bread

  • 2 ounces baby arugula (about 3 cups)

  • 1 ounce shaved Parmesan cheese (1 cup)


  1. Preheat oven to 400. Combine sugar, cayenne, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl.

  2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until light gold, about 12 minutes. Add 1/3 of the figs, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon sugar mixture, and cook, stirring often, until sugar caramelizes, about 10 minutes. Let cool slightly, then pulse onion-fig mixture and walnuts in a food processor. Add pepper and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt.

  3. Place remaining figs, cut sides up, on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with remaining sugar mixture. Roast until tender and caramelized on cut sides, about 10 minutes.

  4. Spread 3 tablespoons onion-fig mixture on each slice of bread. Top each with arugula, cheese, and several warm fig halves, and cut into 3 or 4 pieces. Serve immediately.

Cook's Notes

Spread can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.

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