October 24, 2008

Figs… in Paris

The first time I spotted them was fall, last year. Figs, growing in huge numbers at the park we pass through every day on our way to school. By the time they were ripe, however, the park was shut down for some serious pruning and trimming. So, sadly, we didn’t get to pick any to try. I was actually a little surprised to find them growing here, in the middle of Paris. I would think our moderate climate not to be very favorable to growing figs. This maybe explains why there seems to be less of them this year, at our little park. The many produce stores around here, however, have them “en masse” right now.
This brings me to sharing this fast and easy, but, I believe, very sophisticated recipe. It actually is a “new take” on a recipe I got a long time ago from my friend Liz. She served this dish at a dinner party she hosted – the first one of many for us, as our families grew very close over the years. The original recipe asks for dried prunes, which I now substituted with fresh figs. And, it works wonderfully well, doesn’t it Nina?

So, Liz, Nina, this one’s for you!

Oh, and did you see the clear blue sky in the picture? That was yesterday. A lovely, sunny, autumn day… in Paris.

Marinated chicken with fresh figs

Pre-cut chicken breasts or chicken tenders, to serve 6

Several cloves of garlic, pressed or finely chopped
1/8 cup dried oregano
¼ to ½ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ to ½ cup olive oil
¼ cup Spanish green olives (I usually take them marinated in olive oil and garlic)
¼ cup capers
3 bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste

2 tbsp brown sugar
¾ cup dry white wine
4 to 5 fresh figs, quartered lengthwise
Finely chopped cilantro or Italian parsley, optional

1. In a large bowl combine marinade ingredients and chicken. Cover and refrigerate overnight or at least 8 hours.
2. Preheat oven to 350 F.
3. Arrange chicken in a single layer in a shallow baking pan and spoon marinade over. Add figs. Sprinkle chicken with brown sugar and pour wine all around.
4. Bake for about 35-40 min (less if using tenders).
5. (Sprinkle with cilantro or parsley). Serve. Can also be served cool or at room temperature.

This dish goes very well together with green beans or green asparagus on the side and couscous or boiled potatoes still in their peel (boiled with a crushed - but not minced - garlic clove still in its peel, one bay leave, a little dried thyme and coarse salt added to the water).

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