I impulsively picked up figs from the produce section at Whole Foods this past weekend. You don’t see figs at the grocery store all the time; figs are in season in June. They were five dollars, so admittedly, a some what expensive food experiment. But, food “experiments” are essentially what I call cooking, and what this blog is all about. Curiosity about food can help you become a better cook and a better eater.
My exposure to figs until now was mostly limited to the well known Fig Newton (let’s be honest, does anyone really LOVE Fig Newtons?). As it turns out, figs are BEAUTIFUL. What a great way to enhance your dish visually, nutritionally, and of course deliciously.
Figs have a light natural sweetness, a unique texture, and not much tartness (like fruits or berries). I found them easy to add to all sorts of meals as seen below.
Friggin’ Good Grilled Fig Salad
I mostly ended up eating them raw, because I found them delicious but on night one, I wanted to make them a bit savory. To accomplish the grilled figs photographed above, do the following:
- Halve the figs.
- Glaze in olive oil and add salt.
- Place on grill pan (or on the grill if you have one) seed-side down.
- Use tongs to remove once lightly browned and grill lines have formed.
The grilled figs were the highlight of this salad, almost like a grilled protein. The salad otherwise included butter lettuce, sunflower seeds, goat cheese, just a tiny bit of balsamic vinaigrette, and a touch of olive oil. I carefully dressed the lettuce first and added the figs on top so their delicate texture would not get disturbed when tossing.
Figs atop a Short Stack
The next morning, I made pancakes, admittedly out of a box, and added fresh bananas and figs. If you are going to eat a ton of sugar for breakfast (i.e. pancakes) you might as well add some of the better sugars and nutrition that come with fruits! Before throwing the fruit on top, I tossed it with a pinch of sugar and pinch of salt (salt enhanced the flavors a bit).
For boxed pancakes, I tried out Madhava, a brand that focuses on natural sweeteners, organic ingredients and ancient whole grans (spelt and Kamut® Khorasan Wheat). I can’t say with certainty that these are “better for you” than any other boxed pancake mix, but I think they taste great and at least you know you are eating good ingredients.
Figs + Leftovers Salad? Go figure!
As the weekday craziness begins, it gets harder to relish in the joys of food and cooking. But, tonight I made a lovely salad from leftovers in my fridge. A perfect addition was the last of my figs.
The rest of this salad had leftover chicken breast from my dinner entree over the weekend, leftover oven roasted purple cauliflower (side for my chicken), goat cheese, salt, and olive oil. When I put cheese on my salads, I try not to use dressings; the olive oil also should be used very lightly. Cheese is already so flavorful, and dressing + cheese often leads to a surprisingly unhealthy salad.