Figs! Fresh in Tartines and Salads

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Today Matt Swaim and I talked about FIGS!

We know figs are mentioned in the Bible, starting with the creation in Genesis: 3:7 

There was a fig tree in the Garden of Eden. 

In Genesis 3:7, the passage talks about how Adam and Eve became aware of their nakedness and were embarrassed after they had eaten the forbidden fruit. So they strung fig leaves together to cover themselves around the hips.

Figs are the most mentioned fruit in the Bible – over 50 times.

You’ll also see figs mentioned in Matthew, Luke, Jeremiah and Revelation.

What was the fig’s significance?

The fig represented peace and prosperity and was cultivated around 5,000 BC!   Virtually everybody in Bible days was familiar with this fruit.  During the first Olympics in Greece, athletes were given figs to eat and also to wear as a laurel crown. Andtheyve stood the test of time. Figs are real trendy even today.

There are hundreds of kinds of figs. Which one represented the true fig in the Garden of Eden?

Probably the Calimyrna which is golden in color; but then again perhaps it could have been there’s another popular fig called Black Mission which is blackish purple.

Now here in Ohio, autumn figs are in season right now. Brown Turkish and Celeste fig trees grow well here and you’ll find them in grocery stores now too.

And figs are a member of the Mulberry family -if you look at a fig leaf and a mulberry tree leaf they look similar.

Lots of Americans have eaten dried figs (think of fig newtons)  but not many of us have eaten fresh figs.  Is the taste much different?

Defintely fresh figs are less sweet since the drying process concentrates the sugars. Fresh figs are a part of myLebaneses heritage along with dates so whenever we can get them, it’s a treat.

I like to eat them as is – they make a delicious and energy given snack.

How do you store fresh figs?

They don’t last but a few days in the refrigerator. I store them in a covered container.  Now dried figs stay fresh for months in the pantry, well wrapped.

So are figs good for us nutritionally even though they’re so sweet?

Figs contain lots of fiber and potassium – fiber helps maintain weight and a good digestive system, good for your heart, blood pressure and muscles along with other bone building nutrients. They also contain antioxidants.

Tartines (open face French sandwiches) with Gorgonzola and Figs

Toast baguette slices, spread with a creamy gorgonzola, top with slices of fresh figs and a leaf or two of Arugula or a few thyme leaves.  Voila- easy- quick and delicious.

Warm Fig Salad

I/4 cup red wine or sherry vinegar

1 ½ tsp. Dijon

½ tsp. honey

½ cup olive oil Salt and pepper

8-12 ripe fresh figs

1 cup whole walnut halves

8-10 cups baby arugula

8 ounces crumbled Roquefort

Oven at 375

Whisk the vinegar, mustard, honey salt and pepper.  Add olive oil

Remove the stems from the figs.  Depending on their size, cut them in halves or quarters.  Place the figs and walnuts on baking sheet and roast for 5-10 minutes, until the figs begin to release some of their juices.  Toss the arugula with dressing, add the Roquefort and place on salad plates.  Top with the warm figs and walnuts.  Serve immediately.

Adapted from Ina Garten.

 

Tartines with figs

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