August 17, 2009

Ingredient Find - Fresh Fig

Yes, I really do get excited about an ingredient find that I just fall in love with! And that's the fresh fig. Fresh figs are very delicate and perishable. They should be eaten within a day or two of purchasing.

I have eaten fresh figs before, but now that I am experimenting in the kitchen an ingredient I don't get often is an exciting opportunity for me. I recently was able to get my hands on fresh figs. Someone had used them in a salad and so I decided to experiment and come up with a few salad recipes myself. I really enjoy the taste and the texture and the fresh flavor. A fresh fig is definitely not like a dried fig.
I really enjoyed the flavor combination of figs, walnuts and blue cheese. SEE RECIPE BELOW.
"Figs are not only the main ingredient in a very popular cookie, the fig bar, but are a culinary delicacy par excellence. Part of the wonder of the fig comes from its unique taste and texture. Figs are lusciously sweet and feature a complex texture that combines the chewiness of their flesh, the smoothness of their skin, and the crunchiness of their seeds. In addition, since fresh figs are so delicate and perishable, some of their mystique comes from their relative rarity. Because of this, the majority of figs are dried, either by exposure to sunlight or through an artificial process, creating a sweet and nutritious dried fruit that can be enjoyed throughout the year.
Figs grow on the Ficus tree (Ficus carica), which is a member of the Mulberry family. They are unique in that they have an opening, called the "ostiole" or "eye," which is not connected to the tree, but which helps the fruit's development, aiding it in communication with the environment.
Figs range dramatically in color and subtly in texture depending upon the variety, of which there are more than one hundred and fifty."
Some of the most popular varieties are:
Black Mission: blackish-purple skin and pink colored flesh
Kadota: green skin and purplish flesh
Calimyrna: greenish-yellow skin and amber flesh
Brown Turkey: purple skin and red flesh
Adriatic: the variety most often used to make fig bars, which has a light green skin and pink-tan flesh
ABOVE from

Bunch of Watercress (washed and some stems removed)
Balsamic Vinegar
Olive Oil
NOTE: soak in salt water, debris comes to surface for easy removal
Toasted Walnuts
Roasted Beets
NOTE: Roast beets by washing and cutting of top stem from beet. Puncture with fork so that sugary juices can release. Roast at 450 degrees for about an hour, a knife should easily go through the beet. Wrap individually in foil or layer a roasting pan with foil and cover securely with another piece of foil to allow beets to roast.
Fresh Figs quartered
Balsamic Vinegar
Gorgonzola Cream
¼ c. cream
¼ c. gorgonzola cheese
2 tbls. lemon juice
1 tsp. balsamic
2 tbls. Olive oil
¼ c. water (to proper consistency) c. gorgonzola cheese
2 tbls. lemon juice
1 tsp. balsamic
2 tbls. Olive oil
¼ c. water (to proper consistency)
Extra crumbled gorgonzola cheese
Blend all dressing ingredients, but pulse on food processor. Do not overblend. If you like you can add in a little extra crumbled gorgonzola cheese to make the dre
ssing a little chunkier.
Lightly toss cleaned arugula with small amount of balsamic vinegar, olive oil and salt. Place on bottom of plate.
Top with sliced roasted beets.
Top with toasted walnuts.
Place quartered figs around plate. You can lightly drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar and drop of honey if desired.
Drizzle with gorgonzola cream! ENJOY!

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