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California Fig and Arugula Salad

Contributed by: NAPSA

Figs Make the Salad

(NAPSA) - Popular in Europe for centuries and native to the Mediterranean area, Americans are now discovering the many special qualities of dried California figs.
California Fig and Arugula Salad
Cherished for their versatility, unique texture, sweet flavor, and outstanding nutritional profile, figs are fast becoming the darling of American cuisine. Chefs around the country are featuring dried California figs in a variety of dishes. Calimyrna figs are stuffed and paired with cheese for appetizers and Mission figs are baked into cobblers, crisps and bread puddings for dessert-the examples (and possibilities) are endless.

One popular restaurant in Sonoma, "the girl & the fig," features dried California figs and fresh figs in dishes ranging from their signature Grilled Fig and Arugula Salad to their ever-popular Warm Fig and Thyme Crisp with Fig Syrup. Sondra Bernstein, "the girl" part of the restaurant name, says this about her restaurant, "the fig is my symbol for passion-a passion for the ever-changing landscapes, the array of fruits and vegetables from the nearby farms, and the many vineyards that make up the Sonoma wine country." Sondra loves to make her signature salad with dried California figs. Sondra's original recipe can be found in her new cookbook, "the girl & the fig cookbook" published by Simon & Schuster.

California Fig and Arugula Salad with Fig and Port Vinaigrette is a salad you will make over and over again because the blend of flavors and textures is so irresistibly delicious. The salad works equally well with nutty flavored, golden Calimyrna figs or the sweeter, dark purple Mission figs, but use the Missions for the salad dressing. If you can't find the salad green arugula, use your favorite mix of greens. The pancetta is well worth the extra dollars, but you also could use bacon. Goat cheese is an essential flavor ingredient that, combined with the pancetta, figs and pecans, is dreamy.

Brimming with flavor and packed with dietary fiber (20% Daily Value), and essential nutrients including calcium (6% DV), iron (8% DV), and potassium (7% DV), dried California figs are the perfect fruit for an energy packed and portable snack.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound pancetta, diced
  • 1/2 cup Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid Mission or Calimyrna California figs, stems removed, diced
  • 6 bunches arugula
  • 1 cup pecans, toasted
  • 1 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups Fig and Port Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
  • pepper

Directions:

In a small pan, saute pancetta over medium heat until crisp; set aside. In a large bowl, toss pancetta, figs, arugula, pecans, and goat cheese with the vinaigrette. Divide between six chilled salad plates. Grind pepper over each salad.

Fig and Port Vinaigrette

  • 3 Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid Mission California figs, stems removed
  • 1 cup ruby port
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced shallots
  • 1/4 cup blended oil*
  • salt and pepper

Soak figs in port until soft. In a saucepan, reduce port over medium heat to 1/2 cup. Puree figs, port, and vinegar in a food processor. Add shallots and slowly whisk in oil. Season with salt and pepper.

*Blended oil is 3 parts canola oil plus 1 part olive oil.


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