I love looking forward to certain holidays every year. Thanksgiving is one of my favorites and Christmas is right up there, followed by Memorial Weekend launching the summer months. Now I have food holidays to look forward to each year and right now, I'm smack dab in the middle of celebrating the bountiful harvest of California Figs!
How many ways are there to eat figs? You can drink them, stuff them with blue cheese, top them with grilled spicy pork, put them in a fennel salsa with fish tacos, throw them in focaccia with olives, and those are just for starters.
Desserts included an outrageous fig zinfandel sorbet and an oh so sweet fig and lemon tart.
After leaving with my weight in figs, both in my stomach and in the cases in my arms, I debated what to do with my stash. Luckily they freeze well. All you have to do is stick them on a baking sheet in the freezer, unwashed and uncut. Once frozen, throw them in a bag and enjoy for the next 6 months.
With a belly full of figs, I reminded myself of the many wonderful qualities of this fruit:
- Great source of fiber, potassium and calcium
- Rich in antioxidants
- Natural energy source
- Free from fat, sodium and cholesterol
After a little fig fest food fatigue, I decided on grilling some up and placing them on a healthy salad. So off the figs went to caramelize and develop some rich flavor over heat, while I got together some of the figs' classic companions like goat cheese, walnuts and a honey, balsamic dressing.
Luckily with my frozen figs in hand, I don't have to wait until next year to celebrate this wonderful fruit.
Grilled Chicken and Fig Salad
- 6 fresh Mission figs - top stem removed, cleaned and cut into 6 pieces
- 1 teaspoon honey (or maple syrup_
- 1 teaspoon dijon
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups mixed greens
- 3/4 pound of cooked chicken, breast or thigh
- 2 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese (optional)
- 3 tablespoons chopped walnuts
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat a grill or grill pan to medium high. Place coconut oil or other non-stick spray in pan if using. When the pan is warm, place fig slices in. Let it sear without moving, approximately 2-3 minutes, and then flip carefully to the other side. 5 minutes should be plenty of time because you don't want the fig to overcook and turn mushy.
- Mix the honey, dijon and vinegar together with a whisk and then slowly add the olive oil until combined. Season with salt and pepper
- Arrange lettuce in 2 bowls, top with chicken, goat cheese, walnuts and then figs. Drizzle the dressing over all the ingredients and enjoy!
Need more of a fig fix, check out these recipes using the wonderful fig, fresh or dried.