Recipe: Sautéed Stuffed Figs with Blueberries

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I like dried figs and use them liberally in stews and enjoy them as snacks. In Portugal, figs are dried, split open, stuffed with almonds, and hung in the open markets, where they are sold. I stuff the opened figs with walnut halves and cook them in butter, honey, and white wine in a skillet to create a sauce, then sprinkle them with blueberries. Choose soft, moist figs that are as large as possible. The blueberries add color and texture to the dish, but you can omit them or substitute raisins or pomegranate seeds.

4 servings

Cut the figs into halves and arrange them flesh side up on a platter. Press 1 walnut half into each fig half and press on the nut to embed it well.

Melt the butter in a medium nonstick saucepan and add the wine and honey. Arrange the figs, walnut side up, in the pan and bring to a boil. Cover and boil gently for about 2 minutes, or until the mixture is syrupy and the figs are glazed.

Let the figs cool to room temperature. Arrange them, walnut side up, on a platter. Pour the sauce over the figs and sprinkle the blueberries on top. Serve.

Episode 218: Light and Luscious

Endive, chicory, Belgium endive -- Jacques explains the differences between these vegetables, starting with Rigatoni with Lettuce and Eggplant and Sautéed Julienned Endive. A trip to the fish counter results in a harvest of some ocean "greens," too! Seaweed-lined bamboo steamer baskets hold fresh seafood for Steamed Fish and Shellfish Baskets. The pantry supplies dessert as dried figs and walnuts poached in honeyed wine appear in Sautéed Stuffed Figs with Blueberries, a dessert that pairs perfectly with the sweet fortified wine, Madeira.

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Minute Recipe: Salmon Rolls

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A popular hors d'oeuvre, salmon rolls are easy to make. Buy whipped cream cheese, which is easier to spread, for this recipe.

Using a good vegetable peeler, such as an Oxo, cut lengthwise strips from 1 unpeeled zucchini, stopping when you reach the seeds in the center. Rotate the zucchini and repeat this procedure. Discard the seeds. Place a long strip of zucchini on the table. Top it with a small slice of smoked salmon; it should cover only the center portion and stick out a little beyond it on either side. Spread about 2 teaspoons whipped cream cheese on the salmon and add a sprinkling of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roll up the zucchini slice, encasing the salmon and cream cheese in a tight roll. Cut down the center and arrange both halves cut side down and green side up on a serving platter. Repeat with the remaining zucchini strips. Serve the rolls on their own or with thin sesame crackers.