May 2018 Fig Focus

Charcuterie Platter with Fig Relish

A show-stopping charcuterie platter makes a gorgeous statement for a party and it’s relatively stress free. In other words, it’s not cooking. It’s shopping!

The elements on the platter—sliced cured meats, wedges of cheese, some pickles or olives, mustard, toasted nuts, fresh and dried fruit—pair well with something a bit tart and sweet, like this simple fig relish made with California Dried Figs

The “recipe” for the platter here is just a guideline. You can concentrate on a particular region and choose meats and cheeses from France, Italy or Spain for example, or you can be guided by what appeals to you that is available in the market. For the meats, allow 2 ounces per person for an appetizer platter, up to 5 ounces if the platter is for a meal. Choices range from pre-sliced meats such as prosciutto or Spanish ham (Serrano or Iberico), Italian dry cured beef (bresaola ), German speck and mortadella.  Hard salamis such as sopressata, smoked kielbasa and capicola are also good candidates. 

Offer three types of cheeses—something soft and pungent like a soft blue Castello, a triple crème Tur or Brillat-Savarin, or Brie; something firm like an aged Parmigiano; and something in between, like a Gouda or Spanish manchego. Once again, be guided by your taste and what is available, or focus on a particular region or country.

Wash all of it down with a chilled rose or sparkling Lambrusco. It’s officially summer; the living should be easy!

Charcuterie Patter with Fig Relish 

For 6 servings

For the relish (makes about 1 1/2 cups)

  • 1 cup diced Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Dried Figs 
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped green olives
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped toasted almonds
  • 1 stalk celery, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons snipped mint leaves
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil Salt and pepper, to taste

For the platter

  • Fig relish
  • 12 ounces sliced, cured meat 
  • 3 wedges of cheese 
  • 1/2 cup toasted whole almonds
  • Small pot of mustard
  • 1/2 pound red or purple grapes
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 1/2 cup olives
  • 1/2 cup cornichons
  • Toasted baguette slices
  • Crackers
  1. In a bowl, stir together the figs, olives, almonds, celery, and mint leaves.
  2. Stir in the vinegar and oil and taste. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper. Transfer to a small serving bowl.
  3. Arrange the fig relish, meat, cheese, almonds, mustard, grapes, berries, olives and cornichons on a platter. Serve with baguette and crackers  

Recipe and photo by Sally Pasley Vargas

Make Mother’s Day Sweet with California Figs (& a Sweepstakes)

Before you know it, Memorial Day will be here and with it the sunny skies of summer. But first, we’re excited about Mother’s Day and giving you a reason to rejoice too! We’ve teamed up with our friends at America’s Test Kitchen for a Mother’s Day Recipes with California Figs sweepstakes that’s easy to enter with one lucky person winning a trip for two to visit the new America’s Test Kitchen in Boston this summer. Head here to enter or to learn more

Meanwhile, we’re cooking up a feast of ideas to toast your Mom or parents on this holiday. Head over to Facebook to catch our most recent Cooking with California Figs episode with Renee of Laurel Street Kitchen–she’s baking with her mom to show you how to make her Dried Fig Hand Pies with Rhubarb Glaze (trust us, these pop tarts are simply irresistible and so is her method for making a jam out of our California Dried Figs). 

Nutrition Notes

Selecting and Serving Seafood Safely

Fish and shellfish contain high quality protein and other essential nutrients.  A well-balanced diet that includes a variety of fish and shellfish, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains can contribute to heart health.  As with any type of food, however, it is important to handle seafood safely. 

Buy Right

Fresh Fish 

  • Only buy fish that is refrigerated or displayed on a thick bed of fresh ice. 
  • Fish should smell fresh and mild, not fishy, sour, or ammonia-like.

Store Properly

Put seafood on ice or in the refrigerator or freezer soon after buying it. If seafood will be used within 2 days after purchase, store it in the refrigerator. Otherwise, wrap it tightly in plastic, foil, or moisture-proof paper and store it in the freezer.

Separate for Safety

When preparing fresh or thawed seafood, it’s important to prevent bacteria from the raw seafood from spreading to ready-to-eat food. 

  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water before and after handling any raw food.
  • Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and counter tops with soap and hot water between the preparation of raw foods, such as seafood, and the preparation of cooked or ready-to-eat foods.

Prepare Safely

Thawing

Thaw frozen seafood gradually by placing it in the refrigerator overnight. If you have to thaw seafood quickly, seal it in a plastic bag and immerse it in cold water.   

Cooking

Most seafood should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees F.  If you don’t have a food thermometer, look for the fish flesh to be opaque and separate easily with a fork. Enjoy one of our favorite Valley Fig Growers’ seafood recipes

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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