Thursday, September 24, 2009

Roasted Green Fig Salad with Port Wine Vinaigrette

The first time we tasted green figs was in Tuscany.  We were driving south from Sienna in late September and our traveling companion noticed fig trees on the side of the road and suggested we stop and pick a few. I’ll never forget Jeff cutting the plump, green figs in half revealing their blush-pink interior.  I can still see him reaching up for more, fig juice dribbling on his chin.

Our good friend Terilyn has a Genoa fig tree in her yard and brought over a bag full of the green beauties for us to enjoy. We mostly just gobbled them down, but I saved a few for dinner. When we think of figs, we always gravitate towards pungent blue cheese and sweet port wine. Put that together with some greens and you have a lovely salad.

The port wine vinaigrette is from grill guru, Bobby Flay.  The combination of the sweet figs, rich blue cheese and tangy dressing is delicious. 
Roasted Green Fig Salad with Port Wine Vinaigrette

Ingredients
Serves 2
4 green figs
Drizzle of olive oil
Field greens
2-3 oz. blue cheese or gorgonzola

Vinaigrette
2 tbls. olive oil
½ small red onion, finely chopped
2 cups port wine
½ cup dry red wine
1 tbls. molasses
3 tbls. balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves
½ salt
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
½ cup olive oil

Preparation
Heat oil in medium saucepan. Add onion and cook until soft. Add Port and red wine and cook until reduced to ½ cup (this takes about 15-20 minutes). Let cool to room temperature.

Transfer reduced wine mixture to blender and add molasses, vinegar, thyme and salt and pepper and blend until combined. With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil and blend until emulsified.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place figs on backing sheet, cut tops crosswise and drizzle a little bit of olive oil over them. Back for 15-20 minutes until lightly caramelized.

When the figs are done, put greens on individual plates, place figs and a wedge of the blue cheese alongside of the greens and drizzle with dressing, and dig in!

Tips and Tidbits
Serve with roast pork tenderloin for a perfect dinner, or with a hunk of rustic bread for a light summer supper. Use the leftover dressing as a sauce. Its sweet, tangy flavor is a wonderful compliment to pork or duck.

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