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It's Still the Cheese


It's hard to beat fresh figs served with Camembert, Brie or goat cheese; the sweetness of the figs marries so well with the creaminess and saltiness of the cheese. But the calories of this summer pleasure can be more than you want to think about. That's what inspired this lighter alternative, one that makes a good appetizer on a warm evening.

For this simple crostini, puree low-fat cottage cheese until light and smooth, resulting in an almost fluffy texture. Combined with minced fresh herbs, the cheese is delicious spread on grilled bread and topped with a grilled fig half.

I like to cut the figs in half rather than slicing them; the larger pieces are easier to handle on the grill. The figs will grill quickly; keep an eye on them. When they become tender and begin to collapse, promptly remove them from the grill.


Grilled Fig and Herbed Cheese Crostini

Active Work and Total Preparation Time: 25 minutes

6 figs, cut in half lengthwise

Nonstick cooking spray

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 cup low-fat cottage cheese

2 tablespoons minced sage, divided

1 tablespoon minced chives

1/4 teaspoon salt

Dash freshly ground pepper

12 slices French bread

Heat an outdoor grill to medium, or heat a well-seasoned grill pan over medium heat.

Lightly spray the cut surface of the figs with cooking spray. Place the figs on the grill, and cook until browned on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes a side. Place the figs in a shallow dish and drizzle with the balsamic vinegar and lemon juice. Let the figs marinate while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

Puree the cottage cheese in a food processor or blender until smooth and light. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the sage, the chives, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Lightly spray both sides of the bread slices with cooking spray. Grill the slices on both sides until golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes.

Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the cottage cheese mixture on each slice of bread, spreading to the edges. Top each slice with a grilled fig and sprinkle with the remaining sage.

12 slices. Each slice: 106 calories; 298 mg sodium; 2 mg cholesterol; 1 gram fat; 0 saturated fat; 18 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams protein; 1.34 grams fiber.

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