February 2017 Fig Focus

It’s Love at First Bite

Try something new for a special Valentine’s Day dinner. Parchment-Baked Chicken with Caramelized Onions and California Figs is our suggestion. Bring unopened packets to the table and let each diner snip open the puffed parchment envelope. Aromas and cooking juices are trapped in the packet creating an appetizing taste experience. Onions caramelize best when allowed a little time to slowly become golden and rich. They pair beautifully with California figs and fresh sage to season the chicken baking on top. Add a tossed salad and cooked wild rice or another grain and you’re set.

Parchment-Baked Chicken with Caramelized Onions and California Figs

Mark half a heart on parchment paper

Cook onions until soft and golden

Stir in California Figs, sage and wine

Pound chicken to 1/3-inch thick

Place ¼ onion-fig mixture and chicken on each parchment

Seal parchment packet by making tiny folds around edge

Place packet on serving plate and snip open

Parchment-Baked Chicken with Caramelized Onions and California Figs

Serves 4.

  • Parchment paper
  • 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds yellow onion, peeled and sliced (¼ inch thickness), about 3 large onions
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup Blue Ribbon® Orchard Choice® or Sun-Maid® California Figs, stemmed and thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage plus 4 whole sage leaves
  • 2 tablespoons white wine or dry sherry
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 slices prosciutto

Cut four sheets of parchment paper into 15-x-22-inch rectangles. Fold each piece in half crosswise. With a pencil, mark half of a heart on each folded piece, making the fold the center of the heart. Set aside.

Place a large 12-inch skillet with lid over medium heat. Swirl in oil. Add onions and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon sugar. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions begin to release their liquid and soften, about 5 minutes. Remove cover, reduce heat to medium-low to low and cook, stirring often, till onions are soft and golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in figs, chopped sage and wine.

Adjust oven racks to upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat oven to 400°.

Place one chicken breast in a food-safe plastic bag. Seal bag. Place bag on a cutting board. Pound with a meat mallet to an even, 1/3-inch thickness. Repeat with remaining breasts. Cut chicken into 4 equal pieces. Place chicken pieces on a plate. Sprinkle both sides of each with ½ teaspoon salt and black pepper. Place a sage leaf on each and wrap with one slice of prosciutto.

Open parchment hearts. Spoon ¼ of onion-fig mixture in center of each heart. Spread to an oval shape about the size of a chicken piece. Top with chicken. To seal packets, make small, overlapping folds around the edge of each heart. Press each fold firmly and crease the edge so packets are very tightly sealed and will not open during baking.

Place packets on two large baking sheets (2 packets on each sheet). Place one sheet on upper rack and one on lower rack of oven. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, switching position of sheets halfway through cooking, until packets are puff and chicken is done (temperature is 165° measured with an instant read thermometer).

Place packets on serving plates. Snip open with scissors. Serve warm. 

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.

California Figs: We Go Together

Tomato + Basil. Strawberries + Cream. Some duos just go together and California Figs find themselves perfectly paired with cheese, chocolate, and savory ingredients too!

We love California Figs all year long, but something about Valentine’s Day makes us swoon for nature’s candy, maybe because figs are aphrodisiacs.

Need ideas for a dessert to fall in love with? Figuring out the right dinner for an at-home celebration? All month we are going to provide you ample inspiration in recipes and desserts to make any meal romantic and flavorful. Enter to win a California Fig Lovers Gift Box for your Valentine the first week of February–for more details, head to Facebook.

Count on California Figs—Nutrition Tips and Tidbits

Fill your Valentine’s Day with fun, love and good health. Choose foods with aphrodisiac qualities to get those love juices flowing. Pair your love foods with some of the super foods we talked about last month. You and your valentine are sure to have a deliciously wonderful day to remember for years to come.

Start Valentine’s Day with our California Fig and Banana Smoothie—figs and bananas are both aphrodisiacs and yogurt is a super food. Later in the morning, nibble one of our Homemade California Fig Energy Bars loaded with super foods—nuts and seeds—and super aphrodisiac, California Figs. Move on to lunch and chow down on Quinoa Salad with California Figs, Oranges and Mint. This dish offers super foods, quinoa and walnuts, and aphrodisiacs, figs and olive oil.

Now to dinner, Parchment Baked Chicken with Caramelized Onions and California Figs is the perfect centerpiece for your Valentine’s Day meal. Pair with our California Fig and Feta Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette (use super food arugula for the greens) and super food, wild rice. The salad delivers a triple dose of aphrodisiacs—figs, honey, and olive oil. If your love juices aren’t peaking yet, dessert will certainly send you over the top. A favorite partner of California Figs is the aphrodisiac, chocolate. We highly recommend our Figcolates and Chocolate Cheesecakes with Port.

Happy Valentine’s Day! 

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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