At my July Food Bloggers Los Angeles meeting, I not only got to see all my food blogger friends and eat some crazy good fresh fruit dishes, but we had a surprise visit from Karla Stockli from the California Fig Advisory Board. She talked about figs and answered all our questions, plus she brought beauitful fresh and dried figs for us to take home. I could hardly wait to go cook something delicious with them!
The box with the dried Golden and Mission Figs also contained a calendar with recipes and photos for each month. I was enthralled with this one for Halibut with Fig & Ginger Sauce. The cover of the calendar is the inspiration for a wonderful appetizer with frico, salami, arugula, fresh fig with, I’m guessing, a balsamic sauce. We have to get our inspiration where we can find it, right?
The sauce for the halibut was made with dried golden figs and Fresno chiles, plus fresh ginger, garlic, sesame oil, lime juice and cream. Is your mouth watering yet? The fresh figs we got were the Calimyrna and you can see in my photos how beautiful they are on the plate, with the light yellow-green skin and the pinky-wine color on the inside. I also grilled a few of the Calimyrna for another dish and they were amazing.
Here are some Fun Fig Facts:
Figs were actually the fruit in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve, not apples.
The early Olympic athletes used figs as training food. Figs were also presented as laurels to the winners, becoming the first Olympic “medal.”
Figs were regarded with such esteem that laws were created forbidding the export of the best quality figs.
The fig tree is a symbol of abundance, fertility and sweetness. They were respected in ancient Rome and thought of as a sacred fruit.
Figs made their first commercial product appearance with the 1892 introduction of Fig Newton Cookies.
Halibut with Fig & Ginger Sauce
Fig and Ginger Sauce
4 ounces dried California Calimyrna fig; stemmed and quartered
2 cloves garlic chopped
4 white onion, chopped
2 Fresno chiles, stems and seeds removed
1 tablespoon minced fresh gingerroot
1 ½ cups clam juice or low sodium chicken broth
¼ cup cream
½ teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
½ teaspoon salt
Halibut and Shrimp
4 halibut fillets, 6 to 8 ounces each
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 cups water
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups hot cooked long grain white rice
1 tablespoon butter
4 fresh or dried Calimyrna figs
2 tablespoons chopped and whole chives
Make the Fig and Ginger Sauce
1. In 2-quart saucepan, combine figs, garlic, onion, chiles, fresh gingerroot and clam juice. Heat to simmer, and cook about 20 minutes until figs are softened. Set aside to cool. Turn into blender container and process until smooth, about 30 seconds. Return to saucepan and set aside.
Make Halibut and Shrimp
1. In large heavy skillet, heat olive oil until hot. Gently sauté halibut on both sides until golden brown. Reduce heat and continue to cook until just cooked through.
2. In 2-quart saucepan, combine shrimp with water and salt. Heat to a boil and drain immediately. Turn into warm skillet with halibut and keep warm until ready to serve.
1. Reheat sauce to simmer and stir in cream, sesame oil, lime juice and salt. Add additional clam juice or water, if necessary, to desired sauce consistency.
2. Stir 1 tablespoon butter into hot cooked rice and portion ½ cup onto each of 4 warm dinner plates; layer halibut on top. Divide and spoon sauce over and around. Garnish with poached shrimp, quartered figs, and chopped and whole chives. Serve.