Calcium promotes bone growth, proper nerve signaling, helps our blood to clot, and regulates blood pressure. It can be found in abundance in dairy products, dark green leafy vegetables, salmon, sardines, tofu, dried beans, nuts, figs, and apricots. My Fig Salad recipe in my cookbook layers fresh fig quarters over smooth ricotta cheese. The figs are then drizzled with balsamic syrup and dotted with mint leaves. This salad is elegant, delicious, and a real bone-builder.
Figs are also an excellent source of fiber. One serving of this salad provides about 12-15 percent of the daily requirement, in addition to some benefits from antioxidants, beta-carotene, and potassium. Figs also contain anthocyanins, which help reduce the risk of cancer. Deep purple figs have a greater concentration of anthocyanins than green or golden figs. Balsamic vinegar contains antioxidants and helps boost metabolism and regulate blood sugar. Slightly sweet and slightly tart, this salad also works well as an appetizer or dessert.
Figs have two seasons — a quick, shorter season in early summer and a second, main crop that starts in late summer and runs through fall. So enjoy them while your can!
1 container (15 oz.) ricotta cheese
1 cup balsamic vinegar
½ cup water
1 Tbs. honey
10-12 quartered figs
Pinch of sea salt
Mint leaves as garnish
1. Drain the ricotta overnight in the refrigerator in a sieve lined with cheesecloth or a coffee filter.
2. Place the ricotta in a food processor and pulse a few times until smooth.
3. Combine the balsamic vinegar and water in a saucepan. Cook over low heat until thick and syrupy, about 20 minutes. Add the honey and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat to cool.
4. To assemble, place a few spoonsful of ricotta cheese on each plate and spread out the cheese, making a bed for the figs. Distribute the figs among the plates. Sprinkle with sea salt, drizzle with the balsamic syrup, and garnish with the mint leaves.