In Season: Figs

By Wendy McMillan

If your only culinary encounters with this fruit occur when it’s squished inside a Newton, you’re missing out on a healthful treat. Tasty whether fresh, dried, poached, baked, or grilled, figs have a higher percentage of calcium by weight than milk (more than double), and an 8-ounce serving of figs provides 30 percent of your daily fiber requirement. These simple recipes will open up whole new figgy vistas:

Grilled Chicken With Fig Sauce
In a saucepan, brown 1 cup diced onion in 2 teaspoons hot olive oil and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon flour. Add 1 cup chicken broth, 1 cup diced figs, and 1/4 cup dry white wine, and cook on low for 20 minutes or until thick. Serve over grilled or sautéed chicken sprinkled lightly with salt and pepper.

Gingered Fig and Apple Chutney
In a saucepan, soften 1 medium onion, diced. Add 1 tablespoon thinly sliced gingerroot, 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/2 cup apple juice, 1 cup chopped, peeled apple, 1/2 cup golden raisins, and a teaspoon each of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom; cook on medium heat. Add 4 peeled, diced figs, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until juices thicken. Refrigerate before serving.

Baked Figs With Yogurt
Wash 8 to 10 figs with cool water, gently remove the stems, and halve lengthwise. Place in a baking dish lightly coated with cooking spray. Mix together 2 tablespoons agave nectar, 1/4 cup apple juice, and 1 tablespoon melted butter, and drizzle liberally over figs. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, or until figs are softened. Serve with a dollop of Greek, regular, or frozen yogurt.

Fig Tart With Dark Chocolate
For the crust, combine 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour with 1/2 cup almond meal, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, and 1/2 cup butter. Mix until crumbly, and press into a quiche or pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. In a saucepan, heat 2 cups figs (peeled and halved) in 1/2 cup water, 2 teaspoons vanilla, and 1/4 cup brown sugar. Heat until softened, cool, and spread over crust. Drizzle with melted dark chocolate.