Monday, September 2, 2013

Roasted Fig Flatbread Salad with Goat Cheese Spread

It wasn't until my senior year of college that I first tried figs. I happened upon them at a little grocer in the SF Ferry Building, and having heard of them but never tasted them, decided to buy a little basket of the expensive fruit. Well, actually they're a flower--isn't that so weirdly interesting?

I was hooked on their sweet flavor right away. Now nearly 10 years later, I continue to seek them out each summer and savor their sweet flavor before their short season ends. This year I bought several baskets at Whole Foods, but stupidly tried to make them last for a week since the closest Whole Foods is about 40 miles away. Most of them turned moldy and gross a few days later and I learned my lesson- figs must be eaten right away!

The husband, who doesn't get excited about food the way I do, and definitely has never cared about figs before, is in love with this salad. So much so that he requested it for breakfast one weekend morning. :) There is something about the play of flavors here that is just so right. So much so in fact, that we're planning on eating it again this week and as many more times as we can fit in before figs are gone for another year.

PS: The recipe as written calls for 16 ounces of figs. I just buy a basket, or a clamshell (Fresh and Easy), of whatever variety I can find and use all of them. 

Roasted Fig Flatbread Salad with Goat Cheese Spread
Source: slightly adapted from Annie's Eats

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 Tablespoon butter
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
16 ounces fresh figs, stemmed and halved
brown sugar
4 ounces plain goat cheese, slightly softened
2 Tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of honey
Baby spring mix, or other salad greens
2 flatbreads

Heat the oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Add the butter and the onions and reduce the heat to low. Stir gently, cooking the onions until they are soft, golden brown, and caramelized; about 40 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Set the figs, cut side up, on a baking sheet or glass baking pan. Lightly sprinkle the figs with brown sugar, salt, and pepper. Roast in the oven 10-15 minutes, until softened and juicy. Do not over bake them!

Meanwhile, mix the goat cheese, milk and honey together in a mixing bowl with the paddle attachment until smooth and fluffy.

Heat the flatbreads in the oven for about 2-3 minutes. Let them cool for about 3-5 minutes. (I heat them while the figs are in the middle of roasting, in order to give them time to cool off a bit.)

Spread the flatbreads with the goat cheese mixture, top with the greens, caramelized onions, and figs. Serve right away and enjoy!

Note: I found it easier to eat these if I cut the flatbreads into four slices with a pizza cutter prior to toping them.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Sesame-crusted Seared Ahi Tuna

Now that I am no longer pregnant, I have been venturing back into eating sushi again. But, I think pregnancy whacked out my taste buds because sushi hasn't tasted as good as it did pre-pregnancy. I really want to enjoy my beloved raw fish once again, so I decided seared ahi would be a good re-introduction.

In pursuit of this goal, the husband and I recently had the seared ahi appetizer and the ahi crunchy salad at the Yardhouse, and man it was so good I wanted to order another round. We kept talking about recreating the appetizer at home, so when we found ourselves at Whole Foods (aka Whole Paycheck!) near Huntington Beach, we picked up an ahi steak and set out looking for a sauce recipe to replicate the Yardhouse's appetizer. I didn't find any recipes claiming to mimic the Yardhouse, but with some minor adjustments, a P.F. Chang copycat recipe came pretty close.

Sesame-crusted Seared Ahi Tuna
Tuna: adapted from Life Tastes Like Food
Sauce: adapted from P.F. Chang's Copycat Recipe

Tuna Ingredients
1 ahi tuna steak
1/2 cup sesame seeds
olive oil

Sauce Ingredients
1 Tablespoon wasabi paste
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
1 Tablespoon ponzu or soy sauce
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
2 Tablespoons olive oil

Combine all sauce ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.

Pat the tuna steak dry. Pour the sesame seeds onto a plate and press the tuna onto them. Flip the tuna over and coat the other side. Repeat with the edges.

To cook the tuna, pour just enough oil to coat the bottom of a pan and the heat over medium high heat. Once the oil is shimmering and hot, place the tuna in the pan and cook for 30 seconds. Flip over and cook the other side for 30 seconds. Using tongs, sear the outside edges for about 10-15 seconds.

Remove the tuna from the pan and place on a cutting board. Slice into thin pieces and serve with the sauce.

You can either drizzle the sauce over the sliced tuna or you can spoon the sauce onto the plate and top it with the tuna. I prefer to do both-spoon sauce onto the plate, top with seared tuna, then drizzle additional sauce on top. :)


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