April 2016 Fig Focus

Celebrate the Greens of Spring

Celebrate the greens of spring with Emerald Salad – full of flavors and textures. The salad combines a tangle of thinly sliced kale and Swiss chard, sweet and chewy California Figs, crunchy snap peas and radishes. Add a shower of picante cheese and toasted pecans before serving. Radish strips are crispiest when added just before serving, too. If you haven’t tried massaging greens – here’s your chance. The technique tenderizes mature leaves by breaking down some of the cellulose. The salad can be prepared up to a day ahead of time, making it a great option for a lunchbox or spring picnic.

Emerald Salad

Cutting the center rib out of the kale.

Massaging the greens to soften.

Trim and cut crosswise.

Slicing the shallots and California Mission Figs.

Dressing ingredients.

Ready to enjoy Emerald Salad.

Emerald Salad

Makes 6-8 servings, about 8 cups. 

  • 1 bunch (8 ounces) Tuscan (Dinosaur) kale, curly or red kale, stemmed and thinly sliced*
  • 1 bunch (8 ounces) Swiss chard, stemmed and thinly sliced*
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
  • 7-ounces Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs, stemmed, sliced lengthwise, then cut into thin strips
  • 1 cup fresh snap peas, trimmed and sliced crosswise into strips or thinly sliced fennel bulb
  • ¼ cup shallot strips (slice shallot vertically then cut each slice into thin strips)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese or coarsely shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar or other piquant cheese 
  • 1/2 cup sliced, toasted pecans
  • 4 to 6 radishes, sliced and cut into thin strips 

1.  Place kale and chard leaves in a salad bowl.  Sprinkle with salt and 2 tablespoons olive oil.  Massage leaves for 3 to 4 minutes to soften leaves. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, while preparing remaining ingredients. 

2. Add figs, snap peas and shallot to bowl with greens. In small bowl, stir together lemon juice, remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil and honey.  Drizzle over salad and toss to blend.  Add additional salt and ground black pepper to taste.  Cover and chill for one hour or up to a day before serving.  Toss salad with cheese, pecans and radishes to serve.

*Remove stems and ribs from kale and chard. Discard or save for another use.  Cut leaves crosswise into thin (1/4-inch) strips.

Nutrition: This salad has only 270 calories per serving yet contributes over 20% of the Daily Value (DV)for dietary fiber, 15% DV for iron, 90% of the DV for vitamin C and 130% of the DV for vitamin A.

Lorelle Del Matto, MS, RDN, is a nutrition and culinary professional who combines a passion for food (and California Figs) with a quest for nutrition knowledge. She believes well designed and tested recipes can be great communication tools. Lorelle has a Master’s of Science in nutrition biology and is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. Lorelle developed her culinary skills in France at La Varenne, Ecole de Cuisine. You can find more recipes and healthy lifestyle tips to inspire you to “savor the art of healthy eating” on her website lorelledelmatto.com and on Twitter and Facebook.

Join our Fig-Loving Community Online: Get Ready for Figgy Sandwich Season with a Photo Contest

Sandwich season is upon us and we are highlighting our favorite sandwich topper this month: figs! Head on over to Instagram from March 16 – April 16. Share your original photo showing us a sandwich, grilled cheese, or burger with Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Dried Figs or any of the four delicious flavors of Orchard Choice California Fig Spreads. You’ll have a chance to win a trip for two to attend the live filming of Season 17 of America’s Test Kitchen in Brookline, MA in May. Look for your delicious California fig ingredients at the Fig Store at www.valleyfig.com. For more contest details visit our Facebook page.

Count on California Figs

Valley Fig Growers celebrates 2016 with a new column called Count on California Figs. Each month we’re sharing ways you can count on California figs to add taste and good health to your everyday living. 

2016 is the International Year of Pulses

Under the slogan ‘nutritious seeds for a sustainable future,’ the United Nations has declared 2016 International Year of Pulses to raise awareness about the protein power and health benefits of all kinds of dried beans and peas.

There are hundreds of varieties of pulses grown throughout the world. Popular ones include all varieties of dried beans, such as kidney beans, lima beans, butter beans and broad beans. But also chickpeas, cowpeas, black-eyed peas and pigeon peas.

Pulses have double the proteins found in wheat and triple the amount found in rice. They are also rich in micronutrients, amino acids and B vitamins and they are part of a healthy diet.

There are many easy ways to add more pulses to your diet—soups, stews, hummus, salads. Pulses and California figs make great partners. Both are powerhouses of nutrition and flavor. Here are three high fiber, pulse and California fig-rich recipes we highly recommend. 

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and tag us @valleyfig —we’d love to see what you’re cooking on Instagram and Facebook!

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