I was out to dinner recently and had the most delicious dish: thick slices of bacon, topped with roasted figs, and a dollop of mascarpone all in a balsamic reduction. Perfectly salty, and sweet!
So I set out to recreate it. I used pancetta instead of bacon (honestly: only because I like the round shape more, so feel free to substitute!) and I candied it to make is sweet and crunchy. I sauteed the figs in a balsamic reduction sweetened with honey, and topped it all off with Mascarpone. I've made the recipe a couple of ways both roasting the figs in the oven, and simply sauteeing them. Both ways work great, but I preferred the sauteed version since the figs don't mush as much.
Dust the pancetta with the brown sugar on both sides.
In a non-stick skillet over high heat, cook the pancetta thoroughly until it starts to crisp. When ready, remove the pancetta from the pan and lay on a plate lined with a paper towel/napkin to dry the oil.
Remove most of the leftover pancetta oil from the skillet, and in the same pan add the halved figs (without stems) with the balsamic vinegar (2 tbsp per person). and the honey (1 tbsp per person).
The balsamic will quickly start to thicken. Continue saute to prevent burning. Add salt and pepper to taste. Alternatively you can roast the figs in the oven (400F) with a bit of olive oil and brown sugar until them soften, and then combine with the balsamic reduction made on the stovetop.
When the liquids reduce to about half, remove from heat.
Now you're ready to plate! On each plate lay a slice of the pancetta, n top of the pancetta layer the figs (4 per person) and the reduction (divide equally between plates). Top with a dollop of mascarpone and enjoy!