Here is a story about that one time I was irresponsible with a paycheck. I like to believe we’ve all been there, thinking we’ll be angelic and put just this one away for something special later. Then, you realize you need work on your car, or the people you pay to mow your lawn tell you on very short notice that they will be expecting money tomorrow, or you order a cat tower for your sweet kitties without thinking, or you plum forgot about that one bill that’s due right now. Does this sound familiar, at all?
It’s OK, it happens. Silence the parental voice in your head that seeks to shame you. It’s not like you blew that money on things that won’t be used. And not everything is perfect, nor does it go right according to plan all the time.
I liked the challenge of having to be frugal by accident, to be honest. Maybe it’s because I had already gone grocery shopping, and had found a wealth of some really awesome ingredients for a whopping 13 dollars (!!!!!) at the farmer’s market, but I had fun being forced to work with what I already had in my fridge. Because on any other night, I would’ve looked at the arugula, manchego, and fresh black mission figs in my fridge, and thought, “Maybe we should order pizza tonight.”
Except that’s twenty dollars I could have kept in my pocket. So instead, I sought out a great deal on some prosciutto, dug out some butter and brown sugar to caramelize the figs, put some good use to the balsamic at the back of the cupboard, and mixed up some honey and yellow mustard to make these delightfully flavored sandwiches. I may have felt frugal, but I ate like a food dork king.
Caramelized Fig, Manchego, and Prosciutto Sandwiches
1 tbsp salted butter
1 tbsp brown sugar
4 fresh (not dried) black mission figs, stemmed and sliced into quarters
1 cup arugula
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper, for seasoning
8 slices rustic, crusty bread
8 slices prosciutto
thinly sliced manchego cheese
honey mustard (if you don’t have any on hand, mix 1 tbsp mustard with 1 tbsp honey)
On medium heat in a small saucepan, heat butter until melted. Add brown sugar and place figs in saucepan seeded side down, stirring to coat. Let figs brown and caramelize, stirring occasionally to further incorporate. Figs are done when brown sugar has fully coated them, achieving a gorgeous brown color (about 5-7 minutes). Remove from heat and set aside. Meanwhile, combine arugula and balsamic in a small bowl, season with salt and pepper, and toss to incorporate. Set aside. For each individual sandwich: Place 2 slices of prosciutto on one slice of bread. Top with manchego, arugula, and caramelized figs. Spread honey mustard on another slice of bread and place on top. Repeat for all four sandwiches. Serve.