Sweet and Salty Nuts
- With the rack in the middle position, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
- On a non-stick or parchment paper-lined baking sheet, combine the almonds, pine nuts, maple syrup, fleur de sel and cayenne. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until the nuts are roasted and glazed, stirring a few times. Let cool. On a work surface, using a knife, coarsely chop the nut mixture. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a skillet over medium heat, cook the shallots and thyme in the butter for 8 minutes or until nicely caramelized. Deglaze with the vinegar and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat. Remove and compost the thyme sprigs. Set the shallots aside.
- On a work surface, remove the stems from the figs. Using a small knife, make two incisions to make the shape of a cross into each fig without going all the way through to the bottom.
- Place the figs, cut-side up, in an 8-inch (20 cm) square pan. Stuff the opening of the figs with the shallots.
- Bake the figs for 10 to 15 minutes or until slightly tender. Sprinkle with the nut mixture.
- In a small bowl, combine the maple syrup and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.
- Place the figs on a platter. When ready to serve, drizzle with the maple syrup mixture and sprinkle with thyme leaves.
Serve the figs with ribbons of cantaloupe sprinkled with fleur de sel, spicy olives, marinated artichokes, a selection of cheeses, focaccia cut into squares and slices of Italian salami.