Fresh Figs two ways: Sweet and Savory


contributed by Rylen Feeney

Figs are finally resuming their rightful place on the food deliciousness scale!   For several years running Bon Appetit readers voted figs their least favorite fruit – but no longer.  Figs have made a big comeback.   They are rich, complex and glorious.  Higher in fiber and overall mineral content of any other fruit.  Grab them while you can they are  only available from May – October depending on the variety and once bought only last a few days.  You want to select figs that are plump and yield slightly when gently squeezed.

They are a nutrient dense burst of fiber, iron, potassium, magnesium, manganese, calcium and beta carotenes, lutein, zeaxantin, vitamin C and K, and phytosterols.

Figs are said to be a premium food to consider adding to your diet for constipation, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, fertility and libido.

To see complete nutritional informational data see: http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=nutrientprofile&dbid=106 or http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1884/2

Savory:

Grilled Cheese with Caramelized Onions and Figs
adapted from Berryhill & Co

This will make extra fig and onion spread and can be put in omelets, or served with pasta and goat cheese or stuffed in chicken breast or legs or just eaten straight!

Serves 2
Preparation time:  50 – 60 minutes (onion fig spread can be made ahead)
Cooking time 10 minutes

Ingredients:
4 Slices Sourdough Bread or Unleavened Sprouted Grain Bread
1/3 cup shredded raw sharp cheddar
3 ounces (about 1/2 cup) of crumbled good sheep or goat feta cheese
2 large yellow onions, sliced
2 cups or more of fresh figs, cleaned and chopped.
1 tbs of olive oil
sea or kosher salt
small amount of butter (room temperature)

Preparation:
1. Heat the oil over medium high until it shimmers. Saute onions, coating them with oil, and sprinkle a big pinch of salt over them. Turn the heat down to medium low and cook the onions slowly, stirring every few minutes until they soften and turn an even, deep brown gooey and are sweet. (about 25 – 40 minutes).
While the onions are cooking, wash the figs, slice off their stem ends, and cut them into ¼ inch chunks.  When the onions are completely caramelized, turn the heat back up to medium and stir in the figs. When the figs just begin to break apart, after about 2 minutes, remove the pan from the heat and transfer into a bowl.
To make the sandwiches, heat a dry skillet on medium high heat and once hot turn down to medium or medium low.  Spread a thin layer of butter on each slice of bread, put 2 slices of bread butter side down in a hot skillet and spread both evenly with the cheddar cheese.  Let it begin to melt.  Add large scoop of onion fig spread and feta and top with the remaining two slices of bread, butter side up.  Press down and cover to help cheese melt.   When bread is evenly browned – carefully turn over and press and brown the second side.
Enjoy warm!

Sweet:
Baked Figs with Honey & Toasted Nuts

from my brother

Serves 4 – 6
Preparation time less than 15 mins
Cooking time 15 to 30 mins

Ingredients:
24 – 36 ripe fresh figs
Honey or Amber Agave Nectar
6 – 8 oz  Greek natural yoghurt*
1 cup chopped pecans**

Preparation:
Trim the end of the stalks off each fig and then cut a cross into the top of each one    and open it up like a flower.
2. Place the figs into a 9X13 baking pan.
Drizzle the honey equally over each fig. Sprinkle with the nuts.  Place them into a 375° oven and cook for 15 – 30 minutes, or until tender & figs have started to collapse a little and juice is running.
4. Add a good spoonful of Greek yoghurt to each one and eat while they’re still warm.
* cream fraise, marscapone, or fresh ricotta are all scrumptious substitutes
** Any nut would be acceptable: e.g. pecans, hazelnuts or combinations

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