18 July 2009

Recipes: Interesting Recipes with Figs!



Photo of Mediterranean Fig and Radicchio Salad @ 2theadvocate.com


From Denny: Usually, figs are not my biggest interest but I have to admit that they way they use them in recipes in Louisiana have peaked my interest considerably. The South does have a way with food!

These recipes were featured in our local newspaper's food section this week and they all looked so good I thought I'd park them all here today.

Figs are a great source of fiber, those all important must-have antioxidants, build and maintain strong bones calcium, iron to keep you from feeling tired, potassium and magnesium!

Check out what the first-century Roman writer and naturalist Pliny the Elder wrote that “figs are restorative, they increase the strength of young people, preserve the elderly in better health and make them look younger with fewer wrinkles.” Sign me up on that program! Who said I was lukewarm on figs? You must be mistaken... :) I wonder if eating figs for your health will become a raging trend like Twitter? Hmmmm... time will tell about this "super" fruit!

The food writers over at 2theadvocate.com advise about figs: "When you buy fresh figs, treat them carefully because they are very perishable. The fig skin is fragile and scars easily. If the skin on some figs is scarred from coming in contact with the tree’s leaves while the fruit is growing, don’t worry. Such marks don’t affect the flavor or nutritional value of the fig.

Fresh figs should be kept refrigerated until ready to eat. Dry figs (unrinsed) will keep in the refrigerator uncovered for five to seven days, but no longer.

If you are freezing the figs, they can be rinsed, patted dry and frozen in a plastic freezer bag for up to six months.

Some people prefer to peel figs before eating. Others, say, “Why bother?”

Whichever style suits the palate, now is the time to turn over a new leaf — a fig leaf, naturally — and try figs fresh, out of hand, or preserved and find out if Pliny the Elder was right."

If you are lucky enough to know someone with a fig tree or can get your hands on a lot of this short season fruit, then by all means, can up some of the crop to enjoy all year long!

Johnny Wilbert’s Fig Preserves

From: John W. “Johnny” Wilbert Jr. of Plaquemine
Yield: about 7 half-pints

Ingredients:

2 quarts fresh figs

1 quart raw sugar or light brown sugar if raw sugar is unavailable

1 lemon, sliced thin

Directions:

1. Wash figs gently. Cut stems, leaving ø inch of stem on each fig to prevent breaking up.

2. Place figs, sugar and lemon slices in a 4-quart casserole dish. Cover with lid.

3. Microwave on full power for 55 minutes, stirring gently after the first 20 minutes, the second 20 minutes and then 10 minutes later. Stir again after the final 5 minutes of cooking.

4. Cool until you can handle the figs. These can be ladled into prepared canning jars immediately or frozen to process later.

5. To preserve, wash canning jars in the dishwasher. Then boil jars in a large pot for 15 minutes. Wash the jar lids and rings and bring to a boil in another large pot of water.

6. Once canning jars are sterilized, fill the jars with the cooked figs and juice to within 1/4 inch to 3/8 inch from the top of each jar. With a clean paper towel, wash the top and rim of each jar to remove any figs or fig syrup that could prevent the jar from sealing. Place a lid and ring on each jar.

7. Put the filled, capped jars in a large kettle and completely cover with water. Boil jars for another 15 minutes to process.

8. Remove from water and place on paper towel-covered counter. Cool. Lids will make a pinging sound as they seal. Check seals to make sure they are tight before storing jars in a cool, dry place.

Now here are two salad recipes to enjoy! Remember: fruits and veggies like tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuces all work to cool your liver - and when you cool your liver in this heat you end up cooling down your body. Tastes good AND you feel better in 100 degree heat! Though these recipes don't call for it I often add these coolers to beat the heat when making salads.

Fig and Spinach Salad

From: Tommy Simmons, food writer and food section editor @ 2theadvocate.com
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup Steen’s cane vinegar

1 Tablespoon Zatarain’s Creole mustard

2 teaspoon light brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 bag fresh spinach leaves, stems removed

4 ounces crumbled feta or blue cheese, depending on taste preference

1/2 cup toasted and chopped pecans

8 to 10 fresh figs, rinsed, dried and sliced, plus 2 sliced figs for garnish

Mint sprigs for garnish, if desired

Directions:

1. In a jar, combine olive oil, cane vinegar, Creole mustard, brown sugar and salt. Shake well to mix.

2. In large salad bowl, toss spinach leaves, crumbled cheese, pecans and sliced figs. Drizzle with enough dressing to coat and toss gently.

3. Garnish with additional figs and a few mint leaves, if desired.

Testing note: I’ve also thrown in five or six sliced green grapes on occasion.

Mediterranean Fig & Radicchio Salad


From: Royal Rose Radicchio Web site, http://www.radicchio.com
Serves: 6 to 8

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar (or cane vinegar)

2 teaspoons honey

1/3 cup olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 head radicchio, torn

1 head frisée, torn

6 to 8 fresh figs, cut in halves

1/2 cup kalamata olives, chopped

1/4 loaf crusty French bread, torn into pieces

1 roll creamy goat cheese, such as Montrachet

Directions:

1. In small bowl, whisk together vinegar, honey and oil. Season with salt and pepper.

2. In large bowl, toss radicchio and frisée, then arrange on individual plates.

3. Top with figs, olives, torn bread pieces and bits of goat cheese.

4. Drizzle with dressing and serve.

Testing note: If you can’t find individual heads of radicchio and frisée in the produce department, substitute a lettuce mix that contains radicchio and frisée.



figs, Fruits and Vegetables, Twitter, Pliny the Elder, salads, canning
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