Friday, October 2, 2009

Fig-Balsamic Vinaigrette Recipe


Figs blended with extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and maple syrup....well, what's not to love? This lovely salad dressing is delicious atop a salad of fresh organic greens, maple roasted walnuts, heirloom apples, and fresh figs. Sounds gourmetish doesn't it?

Well, you could pour yourself a glass of wine and imagine yourself sans children dining at one of those fancy, expensive restaurants. I do anyways. It's a nice break from watching the twin toddler WWF wrestling matches we have going on here all day.

This dressing recipe was inspired by a salad served at Cafe Gratitude last weekend. My friend and colleague, Dr. Jean Layton, walked to this wonderful, gluten-free, mostly raw restaurant in San Francisco. I ordered the "I am Celebrating" which consisted of a deep dish pizza made from raw buckwheat groats and sunflower seeds topped with an olive tapenade, fresh tomatoes, and a nut cheese. The large salad that came with it was drizzled with a luscious fig-balsamic dressing. The whole meal was so amazing I decided to order another to go. The fig dressing still lingered with me so I decided to recreate it.....


Fig-Balsamic Vinaigrette

The blended figs work as a natural emulsifier in the dressing. Simply put, the oil and vinegar will stay mixed together. The figs also add a bit of seedy texture and a touch of sweetness. I used Adriatic figs here but black mission would be equally as delicious. Today I made a simple salad of mixed organic greens, maple roasted walnuts, sliced heirloom apples, quartered figs, and feta cheese. Crisp and delicious, with undertones of Autumn and the summer we just lived.

5 fresh figs, stems removed
6 tablespoons good quality balsamic vinegar
1 to 2 tablespoons Grade B maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon sea salt or Herbamare
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Place the figs, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, and salt in a blender and blend on medium until combined and the figs are lightly pureed. With the motor running on a low speed, slowly pour in the olive oil. Add black pepper if desired and blend on low speed, slightly, to incorporate.

Pour dressing over your favorite salad. Transfer remaining dressing to a glass jar. Will last 7 to 10 days in the refrigerator. Source: www.nourishingmeals.com


This salad would pair well with the Balsamic Roasted Chicken with Figs, or the 15-Minute Poached Salmon. It would also go well with my Zucchini Bake and Whole Grain Flatbread. End the meal with my sensuous gluten-free Apple Crisp Recipe.

This recipe is being entered into Diane of The Whole Gang's Friday Foodie Fix. Check it out for more fig recipes from other bloggers! Happy Cooking!


22 comments:

  1. Wow, that's gorgeous, Ali! I hoped to participate in Diane's Friday Foodie Fix, but went to my grocery store and the produce helper had no clue what figs even were. Sad, but true. I think I'll call the other location of this same store at the other end of the county to see if they might have some figs. BTW, I love it when you get inspired by something and whip up an incredible recipe! And, what great ideas you have for meals at the end ... make any of those and you'd be better off than dining at the fancy, expensive restaurant for sure ... well, if your twin toddlers were not doing their best WWF imitations and sleeping. ;-)

    Have a great weekend!
    Shirley

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  2. Mmm....figs! I love them. I recently posted about them on my blog, too, because they're so tasty and their season is so short (at least in WI)--you've got to use them while you can.

    I can't wait to try your dressing recipe. I've made several variations of your Balsamic Fig Chicken and am in love with that combo! I'm sure this recipe will be a hit, too.

    Thanks!

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  3. Ali,
    I am not sure I can even find figs anymore around here. This dressing sure does look fabulous though. In my opinion, fresh figs are the perfect hiking food. We packed them with us for all five of last month's big hikes. Along with a few handfuls of roasted, salted almonds you have yourself a sustaining snack (or meal). The figs do need to be placed in a ziploc container to keep them intact in your pack FYI.

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  4. I am in love with the balsamic-feta-apple combo and fig anything is my favorite so I will definitely be making this dressing very soon. I love your recipes and photos, thanks!

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  5. Shirley - Wow, I am surprised that the produce helper didn't know what a fig was? Maybe they know now. :) I love being inspired by flavors. I so rarely get the chance to eat out so this was fun for me. I agree though, some of the best food is made right here at home.

    Hallie - I agree, with the short season you do have to use them as fast as you can. Glad to hear you are enjoying the chicken recipe! You have a great blog too! :)

    David - I agree, you can't beat figs and almonds for a healthy snack! Thanks for the tip on packing them, I can only imagine the gloppy mess you would find in your backpack otherwise. :)

    Heather - Thanks! Enjoy! :)

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  6. Great use of this decadent and delicious fruit. This will surely be part of a future menu.

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  7. I'm pretty much enthralled with the idea of a fig vinaigrette; I am sure I could use it on everything...roasted potatoes and french lentil salad? Yessss!

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  8. Is that feta or nut cheese in the picture? I haven't tried the nut cheeses; are they good?

    The salad is beautiful. I was just browsing for things to make for Dahlia's special second birthday dinner. How has it been two years already? I think we're going with the vegan enchiladas and the arugula salad with pumpkin seeds, maybe fig dressing :-).

    We need a veggie nut or lentil loaf recipe. I've tried a few without much success lately. Any ideas?

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  9. I love figs & walnuts. When I was in Napa we ate at Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen and they have a fig tree - they served me fresh figs that were just picked off of the tree. They were the best I've ever had...it makes a huge difference in flavor when it's just been picked.

    Love your pairings...great choices, Ali.

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  10. yum this looks fantastic! i admit, i have never cooked with figs before but would love to try out this recipe, especially with the delicious sounding recipe for your balsamic chicken with figs! have a wonderful day :)

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  11. Oh my gosh does this look delicious! I have made your roasted turkey with figs and everyone loved it. But have to admit, I rarely use figs at any other time! I definitely will make this salad and dressing. Have a great week!
    Deb

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  12. Meghan - Thanks! :)

    CinnamonQuill - French lentil salad, yes! That's a great idea. You've inspired me to think of new ways to use it, thanks! :)

    Jennifer L - This is real feta cheese, yes. I (not the rest of the family) eat dairy once in a blue moon and I bought some just for this salad. I have not tried the nut cheeses, they look too processed for me. The nut cheese I had at the restaurant was raw. The menu you have going sounds nice. I don't have any loaf recipes but the Lentil and Rice Casserole from the book is always a hit with my kids, in fact, I now have to make a double batch which doesn't even leave leftovers!

    Amy - That sounds like fine dining restaurant experience! Figs and walnuts are my favorites too! :)

    Kristen – Thanks, I bet you’ll love figs! :)

    Deb - Thanks...for others reading this...the Roasted Turkey and Fig recipe is in our cookbook and it is yummy! Enjoy the dressing! :)

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  13. Oh my. I made this tonight and am enjoying it on a salad for dinner. I am in complete heaven. With new found citrus intolerance, I'm really happy to see viniagrette's without citrus. Thank you so much for this!

    Jennifer M.

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  14. Jennifer - Thanks so much! So glad to hear you enjoyed it! :)

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  15. You come up with the greatest way to use foods. I love it. The salad looks amazing and the dressing sounds like I could put it on more than just salad. I do love how you describe a simple salad. My simple salad is romaine lettuce. Love the recipe!!! Thank you for sharing it on Friday Foodie Fix.

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  16. I made the fig salad tonight and it was awesome. I have never had figs before and I really enjoyed them.
    I also made bbq chicken with a variety of herbs. The combination was terrific.
    I am new at the gluten and diary free life ( 2 months) so Ali your ideas and cookbook have been a life safer. My two growing boys are now being very supportive. (most of the time) My husband who has a huge sweet tooth loved the salad and dressing too. Everyday feels less overwhelming and this blog has helped me feel less on my own and hugely motivated.I have always enjoyed cooking so thanks again Ali.

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  17. I'm really not much of a fig person, but I like vinaigrette and this sounds like something I would like to try.

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  18. thewholegang - Thanks Diane! I do think Romaine is a simple but perfectly good salad that will pair with anything!

    Michele - Congrats on your new gluten-free and dairy-free life and thank you for your kind words! I am so happy to hear that you are finding so much help here, that's my goal! :)

    Linda - Hope you get a chance to try it out sometime, I bet you'll like it. :)

    Michelle - Thanks! :)

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  19. Yum... I just made this easy dressing and it is delicious ! I cannot wait to serve it with tonight's salad. P.S> we are making the gf apple crisp for dessert:)

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  20. Wow! I loved the Fig-Balsamic Vinaigrette recipe!!!! My twin sister has a brain tumor, and I have her on a diet to try and shrink it naturally. Anyway, the diet ONLY allows Flax Oil as the fat and/or oil on the diet. So, I adapted the recipe and used FlaxOil instead of olive oil. I also used raw honey instead of the maple syrup. DELICIOUS!!! I loved it! By the way, I am doing the diet with her so she's not in it alone. So, your blog and cookbook sure help inspire me to find great ways to use the flax oil! Your dressings are amazing!!! Keep up the good work!!!

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  21. You have made my day by posting this recipe! I was just whining to my sister, SILs, and a friend that Maple Grove Farms stopped making their Maple Fig Dressing. I'm totally heartbroken at my first world problem! But we used that dressing on what we call our "candy salad": romaine or other greens, goat cheese, craisins, and toasted pine nuts. Without that dressing, I can no longer make that salad that EVERYONE loves.

    And now, thanks to use; I can!

    Thanks, thanks, thanks :)

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