10/9/11

All About Figs plus a Fig and Goat Cheese Stuffed Pork Loin Roast Recipe

Black Mission Fig (solid black), Brown Turkey Fig (green and purple), Calimyrna Fig (green)

The incredible, edible...fig!  As delicious as it is beautiful.  As versatile as it is mysterious.

Brown Turkey Fig (back left), Black Mission Fig (front left), Calimyrna Fig (front right)

I was thrilled when the California Fresh Fig Growers Association offered to send me some fresh figs to play with. I've long been a fan of them.  Recently in the form of Pancetta Wrapped Figs, and Brie with Fig and Almond, and as a child when my mom used to make homemade fig bars - her version of Fig Newtons.

So what is a fig?
A fig is a fruit and it grows on a tree.  It's smooth on the outside and soft on the inside with lots of edible seeds. You can eat the whole fig raw, skin and all, or you can prepare figs any number of ways - from sweet to savory. Figs are typically small, about the size of a golf ball or slightly larger.  Although last year at Bristol Farms I saw figs the size of my palm!

Unusually large figs I saw last year at Bristol Farms!
Fig tree orchard on left, figs on right (photos courtesy of California Fresh Fig Growers Association)

What does a fig taste like?
Figs have a distinctive flavor.  They're mildly sweet without being overly so.  The darker figs, like Black Mission Figs are richer and earthier, while the lighter colored figs, like Calimyrna Figs are more buttery and nutty.  Dried figs are similar to the texture of prunes and taste somewhat like the inside of a Fig Newton.

Where do figs come from?
Did you know that California produces 100% of the United States' dried figs and 98% of our fresh figs?  And in CA there are 5 primary varieties of figs - Black Mission, Calimyrna, Brown Turkey, Kadota, Sierra Figs.  In most stores here locally in Southern CA, I generally find the first 3 fresh figs - Gelson's currently has fresh Black Mission and Brown Turkey Figs, and Bristol Farms has fresh Calimyrna Figs. The dried figs I usually find are Black Mission Figs.

Nutritional Info on Figs:
Figs are naturally fat free, sodium free and cholesterol free as well as being rich in antioxidants, fiber, potassium and calcium. They're an all-natural energy source making them perfect for an afternoon snack or a quick boost before a workout!

Brown Turkey Fig

Figs are a wonderous and versatile ingredient. This time I chose to use fresh (but you could also use dried) figs in a beautiful stuffed pork loin roast.

Fig and Goat Cheese Stuffed Pork Loin Roast

Serves 4-6

Oven 400 degrees F

Ingredients:
1 1/2 - 2 pound pork loin roast
2 ounces goat cheese
1 1/2 ounces pancetta or bacon, diced and cooked till crispy
1/2 shallot, minced
1 sprig fresh rosemary, plus extra for garnish
2 fresh or 3 dried figs (any variety), rough chopped
kitchen twine
2 Tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil (for high heat)
sea salt flakes (I use Maldon)
fresh cracked pepper

Place goat cheese, cooked and diced pancetta, minced shallot, leaves from one sprig of rosemary, a pinch of sea salt, and a bit of fresh cracked pepper in small bowl and mix.


Next add figs and gently mix.




Set aside mixture and prepare pork loin. Cut large slit or pocket in middle of pork loin roast being careful not to cut through the ends or filet. Place mixture inside the pocket.




Close up pork loin and hold together by tying several pieces of kitchen twine around. Then coat with sea salt and fresh cracked pepper.




Heat up oil in a skillet to high heat. Place pork loin in and sear all sides.




Place pork loin in baking dish and roast in oven for approximately 40 minutes or until internal temperature reaches about 140 degrees F. Remove from oven, cover with foil and allow to rest approximately 15 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F.


Slice, garnish with fresh rosemary and serve. Yum - rich and full of flavor!





For more recipes using fresh and dried figs, like the one below for Chocolate Covered Figs, visit: www.calfreshfigs.com and www.californiafigs.com.

Chocolate Covered Figs (photo courtesy of California Fresh Fig Growers Association)


16 comments:

  1. I am absolutely salivating of that fig-stuffed pork loin - that is the stuff of dreams for me. Those chocolate covered figs look pretty darn good too.

    Gorgeous photos, as always.

    Sue xo

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  2. wow The stuffed pork loin looks droolworthy!

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  3. Oh wow does this pork loin look amazing! The stuffing sounds sooo good. :)

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  4. This si great idea to stuff pork with fig mixture.In some months my figtrees will bear this fanatstic fruit(we have spring here now) and I am penning your recepie down:)

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  5. Ohmigosh! That pork dish looks amazing. I love figs! Never had them with pork before but I bet that's a super yum combo. Buzzed!

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  6. Q: What is your "fig season" in your part of the world? Here in the Canadian prairies, they will appear in stores for 10 -14 days a year. Honestly - if I'm lucky enough to score some, I'll eat the whole box, fresh and unadorned. They're such a precious and rare commodity that I wouldn't dare "waste" them by cooking with them. Yet on food blogs, I keep seeing them popping up - and it's been a month or more since they were here. I'm so jealous - tell your producers to KEEP SHIPPING THEM - please, please, please!

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  7. Anonymous - California's fresh fig season starts in Mid-May and goes through mid-December. The rest of the year I happily use dried figs. I'll pass on your comment to keep on shipping! Figs are fabulous!

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  8. Wow. I'm so shocked - and so sad. Wonder why they're only shipped 2 weeks a year.....

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  9. Yum! Figs and pork are perfect together! This pork looks wonderful and I love that you used the different fig varieties. Looks fantastic.
    Saw you're on Social Fabric and was happy to see a familiar face...

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  10. Looks delicious. Would love for you to share your pictures with us over at foodepix.com.

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  11. I just made this tonight and OMG it was wonderful.. the flavours are so perfect together. I forgot to put the rosemary in the mix so just popped it on top which still tasted good and potentially worked better for me as I sometimes find rosemary in food is a bit like there's pineneedles in it. but yeah, GREAT recipe!

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  12. I believe someone is selling your recipe and using your image FYI as a fan! http://www.listia.com/auction/8326906-stuffed-pork-tenderloin-recipe

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  13. I made this tonight for an anniversary dinner and it was delicious!! The roast was very tender and the filling was absolutely delicious! Just in case anyone was wondering, I doubled the recipe for the filling and used a roast just over 4 lbs. and it was perfect.

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  14. This si great idea to stuff pork with fig mixture.In some months my figtrees will bear this fanatstic fruit(we have spring here now) and I am penning your recepie down:)

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  15. I tried a fresh fig yesterday for the first time and was disappointed. It tasted nothing like the descriptions I've read; it tasted green, almost like green beans. Is this normal, or could it have gone bad? I want to give figs another chance, but I don't want to buy them just to throw them away.

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