Before settling in for dinner at Tallula in Lyon Park, I couldn’t resist sampling a few nibbles from EatBar, the newly unveiled incarnation of the restaurant’s adjacent bar/lounge. There, you'll find a separate menu of bar nibbles, soups, salads, and entrees, a long roster of microbrews and cocktails, and 70 by-the-glass wines.
Figs are one of my absolute favorite foods, and chef Nathan Anda’s bacon-wrapped preparation of the fruit is simple but still tastes decadent. Sure, it’s hard to go wrong with anything wrapped in bacon (and soaked in butter), but I was thinking about this two-bite treat long after it had disappeared from its shallow dipping pool of mascarpone cheese. A $5 order at EatBar comes with three just-out-of-the-oven figs. Easily eaten off a toothpick, they feel like the ideal cocktail party snack. With my long-overdue housewarming party in mind, I asked chef Anda to share his recipe.
EatBar's Bacon-Wrapped Figs
Makes about 15 figs
1 pound dried figs (Calmyrnas are best)
1 cup chicken stock
1 pound butter
3 sprigs of thyme
10-15 strips of bacon (not thick cut), room temperature
5 tablespoons mascarpone cheese, room temperature, seasoned with salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cut the stems off figs. In a pot, melt the butter and combine with the chicken stock and thyme. Place the dried figs in another pot and pour the liquid overtop. Set the pot over medium heat and bring the liquid to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, or until the figs are plump. Remove the pot from heat and let the figs cool in the liquid. Remove the figs from the liquid (when the liquid is cool, you can strain out the butter solids and use the remaining fig syrup as a condiment with meat or fish, or whisked into salad dressing).
Lay out a piece of bacon, place the fig stem side down and roll the bacon around the fig (You will have to rotate the fig in order for it to get completely wrapped.) Depending on the size of the fig, wrap it with either a half- or full-sized strip (it needs to be completely covered).
Place the figs in a saute pan over medium heat (Put them seam side down so they don’t come unraveled). Cook until they are browned on all sides. Place the pan in the oven and cook for 5 minutes more.
Arrange the figs around a pool of the mascarpone cheese and serve.
EatBar at Tallula, 2761 Washington Blvd., Arlington; 703-778-5051; Tallularestaurant.com.