Feed The Yogi
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Fig, Walnut and Olive Tapenade
Categories: Food, Ingredients, Recipes

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It’s starting to rain a lot here in Oregon. The temperature is still pleasant, but winter is definitely on its way. The real news is, our figs have given their last crop for the season. Insert violin music here.

Ok, well in light of this development (winter is upon us). I have decided that my last recipe for this month of figs will be made with dried figs, and therefore a recipe that is easy to make all year round. Dried figs are easy to find in most grocery stores but make sure that when you’re buying them, you try to buy organic and sulfite-free.

Commercially grown dried figs may be treated with sulfur dioxide gas during processing. They may also be treated with sulfites to extend their shelf life. Sulfur-containing compounds are often added to dried foods like figs as preservatives to help prevent oxidation and bleaching of colors. The sulfites used to help preserve dried figs cause adverse reactions in an estimated one out of every 100 people, who turn out to be sulfite sensitive. Sulfite reactions can be particularly acute in people who suffer from asthma. The Federal Food and Drug Administration estimates that 5 percent of asthmatics may suffer a reaction when exposed to sulfites. Foods that are classified as “organic” do not contain sulfites since federal regulations prohibit the use of these preservatives in organically grown or produced foods. Therefore, concern about sulfite exposure is yet another reason to purchase organic foods. -WHFoods

I digress… Dried figs! A fabulous addition to any winter dish, be it stew, salad or simply by themselves. If you soak dried figs (or dried anything) in water for a while they will rehydrate and become wonderfully plump and juicy, even more so if you soak them in warm water or stew them. This tapenade recipe packs a punch for essential fatty acids and B-vitamins (as well as high amounts of other vitamins and minerals,) both of which are essential for maintaining good immunity as well as balanced mental and emotional states of being throughout dark winter months. If you’re more interested in sweet than savory, follow this recipe sans olives and capers for a sweet-tooth satisfying spread.

Fig, Walnut & Olive Tapenade
Makes 1.5 cups

1 cup dried black mission figs
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted
1/2 cup walnuts
2 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoon capers
1 tablespoon crushed, dried rosemary
2 teaspoons honey
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Soak dried figs in warm water for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 35oF. Spread walnuts on a baking tray and place in the oven on the middle shelf. Bake for approximately 5 minutes, take out and stir, bake for 3 minutes more. Walnuts become bitter when they’re cooked for too long, you want the nuts to be roasted but not bitter. Feel free to sample and test.

Drain figs from soaking water and combine with the rest of the ingredients (except for salt and pepper) in a food processor and pulse on high until you’ve formed a tapenade to the consistency you desire. The mixture shouldn’t be totally smooth, leave some texture. Season with salt and pepper.

Enjoy on bread or crackers, crudités, with cheese etc. Tapenade should last refrigerated for about 3 weeks.

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