Salad of fresh figs, candied walnuts and mountain Gorgonzola cheese

Such an exquisite combination. Mountain Gorgonzola is the perfect creaminess for a blue cheese for this dish, but don’t worry if you can’t find it. Plain Gorgonzola will be fine.

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Serves 6

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp lemon juice
salt and pepper
6 cups mesclun greens, such as arugula, oak leaf, mache or radicchio
1/2 cup crumbled mountain Gorgonzola
12 fresh figs, halved
1/3 cup candied walnuts

Mix together the balsamic, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
In a separate large bowl, combine the greens, Gorgonzola, figs and walnuts.
Toss well with the dressing and season with salt and pepper.

Serve

Prosciutto wrapped chicken stuffed with goat cheese and figs

This is a very simple but highly effective dish from Marcus Bean, that is as good at a dinner party as it is for a casual get-together with friends. You can also make them as small bites.

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Serves 4

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8 strips of Parma ham or prosciutto
8 fresh figs, sliced
4 oz soft goats cheese, crumbled
1 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 F.
Make a horizontal slit down each chicken breast, making sure you don’t cut all the way through. Open up the chicken breasts as flat as possible and place each one on 2 strips of Parma ham or prosciutto.

Mix together the figs and goat’s cheese, season the chicken breasts, then put 1/4 of the stuffing mixture on each chicken breast, seasoning again with a little more salt and pepper. Fold the chicken over the filling, then wrap the ham around the outside and secure with cocktail sticks, if necessary.

Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the chicken breasts and cook on medium high until browned, then transfer to a roasting tin and roast for about 15 to 20 minutes until the juices run clear when the thickest part of the breast is pierced with the tip of a sharp knife.

Serve hot with a fresh green salad and boiled, buttered baby potatoes.

Glazed chorizo with figs

This dark, gooey, sweet, spicy mixture is rich and sumptuous and a great dish for a starter with some toasted bread slices.
You don’t need much and it definitely has the “wow” factor in flavor.

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 Serves 6 to 8
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. Spanish chorizo, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small red onion, sliced lengthwise
2/3 cup red wine
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup good liquid honey
1 1/2 cup dried figs, trimmed and quartered
1 stick cinnamon
3/4 tsp. whole cloves

In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, onion and chorizo and stir for about four minutes, until the garlic and onion is soft and starting to brown.
Add the honey and stir vigorously for approximately 30 seconds, being sure to coat all the ingredients.
Add the wine, vinegar, dried figs, cinnamon and cloves. Heat to a simmer and let simmer for approximately 30 minutes, until the sauce has reduced and created a glaze for the chorizo and figs.
Serve immediately, or let cool and reheat for serving.

 

 

Creamy tagliatelli with figs, gorgonzola, lemon and rosemary

Creamy tagliatelli with figs, lemon and rosemary

 

Another vegetarian beauty of a pasta dish. This has the sweetness of the figs, the saltiness of the blue cheese and it’s altogether stunning.

Serves 4
1 lb tagliatelli (or any other sort of pasta you like)
1 oz butter
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 red chili, deseeded and finely chopped
12 ripe black mission figs, quartered (One fig is nice to keep for a garnish, cutting it into thin slices)
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 oz gorgonzola or dolcelatte cheese
3 fl oz heavy cream
2 oz grated parmesan cheese (not the pre-grated stuff)

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and cook your pasta
Meanwhile, in a heavy bottomed pan, heat the butter and fry the garlic, rosemary and chili for 1 minute. Top and tail the figs, cut them into quarters and place them flesh down in the pan. Cook for a couple of minutes, then turn them over and allow them to break down.
Add the lemon zest and season with freshly ground pepper and a little salt (your cheese will also salt the dish, so be careful not to put too much salt in at this point)
Add the cheese to the figs and allow it to melt. Add the cream and simmer gently to reduce, before stirring in half the lemon juice and half of the grated parmesan cheese.
Taste the cream sauce, it will be sweet and rich, hot, sour and salty. The lemon will cut the richness so that it is not too cloying. The blue cheese gives a depth to the flavor. Adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Strain the pasta and mix in the pasta sauce. Season with lots of black pepper, the remaining lemon juice and grated parmesan cheese.
Garnish with the fig slices.

 

 

Low calorie roasted chicken with fresh (or dried) figs and Kalamata olives

This is a low calorie high flavor dish that will become a favorite. If you don’t have fresh figs then use dried figs, apricot or prunes.
With the fat dramatically reduced, you will want to serve this often

Serves 2

3 chicken breast halves, on the bone, skin removed
1/4 cup finely minced garlic
1/4 cup low-fat chicken broth
1 tbsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp pitted Kalamata olives, 6 to 8 olives
2 tbsp capers with a little juice
3 bay leaves
3 tbsp light brown sugar
1/2 cup dry white wine
3/4 cu fresh figs, cut into halves or 1/2 cup dried figs, apricots or prunes

In a large bowl, combine the chicken, garlic, broth, oregano, pepper, vinegar, olives, capers with juice and bay leaves.
(If using dried fruit, add them now)
Cover, refrigerate and marinate overnight or for at least 8 hours

Preheat the oven to 350 F

Arrange the chicken in a shallow baking dish and cover with the marinade. Sprinkle with brown sugar and pour the wine around the chicken pieces.
Bake for about 1 hour, basting every 10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
After 15 minutes of cooking add the fresh figs.
Remove and discard the bay leaves.
Garnish each serving with sauce, olives and figs and serve immediately.

Only 300 Calories per serving too

 

Fig, port wine and pistachio ice cream

One word. Spectacular!!

2lbs fresh figs (about 20)
1/2 cup port wine, plus 3 tbsp
1 lemon, preferably unsprayed
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped pistachios

Remove the hard stem ends from the figs, then cut each fig into 8 pieces. Put the figs in a medium non reactive saucepan with 1/2 cup port wine and zest the lemon directly into the saucepan.

Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 8 to 10 minutes until the figs are tender.
Remove the lid, add the sugar and continue to cook until it reaches a jam-like consistency.
Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
Blend together with the cream, lemon juice and pistachios and 3 more tbsp of port wine.
Chill in the fridge and then put in your ice cream maker per the manufacturer’s instructions

 

Baked goat cheese with caramelized onion, garlic and Mission figs

I would take this to a desert island if I could have an oven on it!!

Makes about 20 servings

2 lbs goat cheese
14 dried Mission figs (1 cup) sliced
1/4 dry sherry
1/4 cup olive oil
2 large Spanish onions, thinly sliced
10 garlic cloves, crushed
3 rosemary sprigs
2 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 sliced baguettes, for dipping

Preheat the ove to 350 F

Crumble the goat cheese into an oven safe dish and set aside

In a saucepan combine the figs and sherry with enough water to barely cover the figs.
Place the saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil, cover and remove from the heat and let the figs plump up while you’re cooking the onions.

Pour the olive oil into a large skillet and place over medium heat.
Add the onions, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, for about 20 minutes or until golden.
Using a slotted spoon remove the plumped figs from the saucepan, leaving behind any of the liquid.
Add the figs to the cooked onions, stir to combine and then spoon over the crumbled goat cheese.
Place the dish into the top half of the oven for about 20 minutes, until the edges begin to bubble.

Remove and serve immediately with sliced baguette. It’s best when served straight from the oven.

Stilton, roasted fig and prosciutto tart in a pecan crust

Yield    1x  9″ tart

Creamy stilton, crispy prosciutto and luxurious balsamic glazed figs in a gluten free pecan shell.
A small slice makes a rich, decadent  and elegant first course.

For the crust
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup almond meal
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 egg

For the filling
5 eggs
1&1/2 cups whole milk
4 oz Stilton cheese or your favorite stinky blue cheese!

For the figs and balsamic reduction
3 pint-sized baskets of fresh figs
1 cup plus 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp agave nectar or sugar
2 tbsp melted butter

For the garnishy goodness!
6oz prosciutto, chopped and crisped to a golden brown, divided
3 – 4 oz more blue cheese
1/2 cup caramelized onions.  You can use 2 onions, sliced and sauteed in olive oil with some herbes de Provence for about 30 to 40 minutes.

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375F
Trim the stems off the figs and cut them in half lengthways. Drizzle with 1 – 2 tbsp of balsamic and the butter and spread evenly on a baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes, until the figs are just soft but still hold their shape. Set aside.
Keep the oven at 375F
In a food processor, pulse the pecans into a fine meal. Add the almond meal (if using), egg and maple syrup and pulse until a ball forms.
Press the dough into a tart pan with your fingers. It will be sticky but it should fill a tart pan evenly. Set aside.

Beat the eggs and milk until combined. Layer the tart with the caramelized onions and a handful of prosciutto crumbles. Pour the egg mixture into the tart shell. Crumble the 4oz blue cheese into the tart and bake for about 20 minutes or until the egg filling is puffed and golden.
Remove and let cool to room temp.

While the tart is baking, combine the cup of balsamic, agave (or sugar) in a small saucepan and bring to a light boil. Turn down the heat and reduce by half. Remove from the heat and let cool completely.
When the tart is cool, arrange the roasted figs on top.
Top with the remaining prosciutto crumbles and additional blue cheese.
before serving, drizzle with the balsamic reduction.
Enjoy!!

 

Gorgonzola, fig and pecan cheese terrine

This is such a lovely hors d’oeuvres to serve with crackers or celery sticks.

Yields about 20 servings

1/2 cup dried Mission figs, cut into small pieces, plus 1/2 cup for garnish
1 cup port
1 good sized sprig fresh thyme, plus 1 bunch for garnish
1 lb cream cheese, at room temperature
1&1/2 sticks butter, at room temperature
8 oz crumbled gorgonzola
2 tbsp brandy
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup toasted pecan pieces, plus 1/2 cup for garnish
2 tbsp Italian parsley, chopped
Mesclun or frisee greens, for garnishing

Put the 1/2 cup of chopped figs into a small saucepan along with the port and thyme.
Let the mixture simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. Drain the figs, discard the thyme and port and set the figs aside to cool.
Put the cream cheese and butter into a bowl of a standing mixer and, if using the paddle attachment, cream the mixture on medium until well blended, about 1 minute. Add the gorgonzola, brandy and salt and beat for 1 more minute.
Take care not to over beat or it won’t set properly
Spray a 1 quart loaf pan with cooking spray and line the inside with plastic wrap. Spoon half of the cheese mixture into the pan and spread it evenly, making sure to get into the corners.
Scatter the figs, pecans and chopped parsley on top evenly and cover with the remaining cheese.
Give the pan a few sharp raps on a flat surface to settle the terrine and get out the air bubbles.
Cover the top with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.

To remove the terrine from the pan, turn upside down on a flat surface and pull 1 end of the plastic wrap down.
The terrine will slip out of the pan onto the top piece of plastic wrap.
Slice and fan out on a platter garnished with greens. Garnish with the remaining 1/2 cup of figs, pecans and thyme.
Serve with crackers

 

Exotic Lamb Pilaf with pomegranate seeds, cranberries and figs

This is a spectacular dish using ground lamb and incorporating the rich flavors of cranberries, pomegranates and figs.

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 lb ground lamb
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 red chile, deseeded and finely sliced
1 tsp ground allspice
2 oz dried cranberries
2 oz dried figs, chopped if large
300 grams basmati rice
900 grams hot lamb stock. (For those in the US, Amazon.com sells Knorr lamb stock cubes and I use them a lot. They are wonderful!)

To serve

2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley or mint or a mixture of both
40 grams shelled pistachio nuts, roughly chopped
60 grams Greek feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 pomegranate, seeds only
greek yoghurt, to serve

Directions

Heat the oil in a deep frying pan over medium high heat and sear the lamb for 5 minutes or so until lightly browned.
Add the onion, reduce the heat and fry until soft and golden.
Stir in the chile, allspice and garlic and cook for another 3 minutes then stir in the cranberries and figs.
Add the rice and stir briefly to mix the rice with the other ingredients.
Put in the lamb stock and season to taste.
Bring to the boil, stir once then immediately reduce the heat to a gentle simmer.
Now cover the pan tightly and cook for 20 minutes until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender.
Don’t stir the rice during this time.

To serve

Gently fold the herbs through the pilaf with the pistachios and most of the feta.
Pile the pilaf onto 4 warm plates and sprinkle over the pomegranate seeds and remaining feta.
Drizzle over a little olive oil and serve with Greek yoghurt on the side