Late summer in San Diego is one of my favorite times of year. The sunsets are pink and gold, the tourists are thinning out, the mornings are chill and dewy and the fresh produce is abundant. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but we are so lucky to have so many small organic farms in the county. You can find a local farmer’s market almost every day of the week. There is also a permanent public market in the works near downtown that should be in full swing by the end of next year.
Now if you know me you know my favorite end-of-season crop has always been the tomato. The problem is that they are just not as good here as they were in Indiana (sorry Cali, but the Hoosier’s outdid you on that one!) I think tomatoes really benefit from that high heat, high humidity climate that rarely comes on the West Coast.
But then I tried the fresh figs… My dear tomato, I am sorry to say that you have been replaced. One glance at the plump succulent fig and I knew I was done for. For those of you who have never tried a fresh fig, you are missing out. This is the fruit of the gods. Now, don’t think you know what they taste like because you’ve had dried figs. Those sticky gooey overly sweet masses are absolutely nothing like their tender ripe fresh cousins.
This time of year I pair figs with everything; greek yogurt, cheese, roast meats, fruit tarts, sandwiches, pizza and salads. I will eat them until I’m almost sick of them, knowing I will not get them again until the following year. I purchased these figs from Koral’s Tropical Fruit Farm at the Hillcrest Farmer’s Market in San Diego. They brace well with both sweet and savory dishes or salty and tart flavors. This salad allows the light sweetness of the figs to really shine by matching them with smoky roast chicken, caramelized onions and crisp greens. The lemon dill vinaigrette pulls all the flavors together in perfect harmony.
Go out and try these beauties while you still can. You’ll be glad you did!
- 1 sweet onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 large head romaine lettuce, chopped
- 2 Persian cucumbers, sliced
- 2 celery stalks, sliced
- 8 oz roast chicken, torn into pieces
- 10 fresh figs, sliced
- 1 tsp fresh chopped dill
- Juice of 1 large lemon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
Heat a small skillet over medium low heat. Coat with cooking spray. Sauté the onion in the skillet 7-9 minutes until translucent (adding a pinch of salt helps draw out the moisture).
Layer the lettuce, cucumber, celery, chicken, onion and figs in a large salad bowl.
Combine the dill, lemon juice, salt, pepper and honey in a small bowl. Whisk in the olive oil. Serve the vinaigrette alongside the salad.
Servings: 4 Serving Size: ¼ salad and 1 tablespoon vinaigrette
Calories: 193 Fat: 2.7g Sat. Fat: .6g Carbs: 28.4g
Sodium: 199.1mg Fiber: 4.4g Sugar: 21.6g Protein: 14.9g