Monday, November 26, 2007

Dried black mission figs and blue cheese - pungent and sweet never tasted so good...

Tonight's Macerated Winter Fruit dish that we had as a side was a very refreshing and clean way to change up an ordinary fruit salad. Since we only needed a cup of fresh pineapple, I did go ahead and grab a few pieces from the salad bar area of the market instead of buying the whole fruit.

The tangy diced pineapple is combined with apple cider, sticky honey and a whole cinnamon stick - the mixture is heated just until the honey has a chance to melt and dissolve into the cider. This is then tossed with chopped sweet apples (I used a crisp Fuji), sour pink grapefruit, halved red grapes and chewy dried cranberries. A splash of Grand Marnier adds an orange note with a drizzle of fresh lemon juice brightening up the fruit's flavor. Be sure to give this at least an hour in the refrigerator to chill before serving - this gives the cinnamon stick a chance to permeate the dish and the cranberries some time to plump up. You could even make this a full day ahead of time - I think the fruit would hold up just fine and the flavor would only get better.

Since we were on a "roll" with that turkey roulade from Thanksgiving, I wanted to do another stuffed meat dish and went with a recipe for a Fig and Blue Cheese-Stuffed Pork Tenderloin tonight. While we've had figs in a few savory recipes, I don't think we have ever paired it before with a pungent ingredient like blue cheese.

Inside the pounded tenderloin is a scattering of dried black mission figs and crumbled blue cheese. Once the tenderloin has been rolled up and tied, it is simply seasoned with salt and pepper and baked in the oven. When it is almost done, the tenderloin is brushed with apricot jam and put back in the oven for a couple minutes to finish it off. The jam adds a faint sweetness and gives the finished tenderloin a bit of sheen. Once you let the pork rest, it is best to slice the tender meat fairly thick - we cut ours about 3/4" to 1" thick to help keep the oozing cheese in the pork slices and not all squished out. If figs and blue cheese don't float your boat, how about changing it up and using Gorgonzola and dried cranberries? I think that is what we'll try when we make this again.


  1. That fruit dish sounds SO good! I can't wait to try it--thanks for posting it!


  2. Joe my dear, you are endlessly amazing me.

    This sounds wonderful!

  3. Courtney - we really liked how refreshing it was!

    Rachael - bah, your silly!