Overcoming Fig Phobia… Thanks to Tyler Florence

I’ve had a lifelong fear of figs. I blame it on my Swedish grandmother who lovingly baked sweets that she wanted her precious only young grandaughter to try. Among these treats were cookies with fresh fig filling. Though I loved grandma and appreciated her spoiling me endlessly, I couldn’t stand the texture of the fig cookies. Grandma was hurt. Whenever I didn’t eat what she made, she was hurt. So I ate them anyways and pretended that I liked them. Yuck. And I haven’t touched figs since… until yesterday.

We have the good fortune of having a Farmer’s Market near our house that is open every day (Chino Farms). It’s one of those good ones too… where they grow all of their own food right there and put out whatever is ripe that day. I was there to pick up some of their famous Chino Corn when I spied a small basket of fresh figs. Hmmmm, I thought. Perhaps I’ll give them a try. Mind you, it’s been a good 30 years since I’ve had figs.

So I carted home my basket of freshly picked figs and browsed cookbooks. Tyler’s Ultimate had a recipe that looked like a must-try: Chicken Paillard with Fresh Fig Salad and Blue Cheese.

If you don’t have this cookbook, it’s really worth looking at. Tyler Florence is one of those chefs that I do enjoy watching on Food Network. He’s a cutie, and he has some good looking recipes that are along the line of things-I’d-try. Tyler’s Ultimate cookbook has loads of pictures (love that) and I think I’d make just about all of them.

The recipe involved pounding out the breasts into paillards (thin slices), which I’m a big fan of. This allows the breasts cook quickly and stay moist. Pancetta is sauteed, then the chicken, and the dressing gets a quick warm-up in the pan. That’s it! Assemble with chicken, blue cheese, arugula, figs and pancetta. The sweet vinaigrette is drizzled on top, and dinner is ready!

And guess what? I loved it. I especially enjoyed the bites that involved figs. It’s hard to believe that I’ve shunned them for so long. I would make this recipe again in a heartbeat. Though it sounds fancy, it’s so simple and completely delicious.

This RecipeGirl has turned fig phobia into fig obsession. Bring on the fig recipes! Just no fig cookies, please.

This recipe can be found here:  Chicken Paillard with Fresh Fig Salad & Blue Cheese

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40 Responses to “Overcoming Fig Phobia… Thanks to Tyler Florence”

  1. 1

    LyB — August 13, 2008 @ 12:33 PM

    I love figs, this salad sounds like a great way to overcome your fear of them. It looks delicious!

  2. 2

    Maria — August 13, 2008 @ 2:34 PM

    I have never been the biggest fan of figs either. I will have to try this recipe! Thanks!

  3. 3

    StickyGooeyCreamyChewy — August 13, 2008 @ 3:13 PM

    Oooh! I adore fresh figs! My dad had a magnificent fig tree that he planted with cuttings smuggled over from Italy. The figs were as big as your fist!

    Love this recipe. I would definitely try it if I could keep from eating all of the figs before I had a chance to make it! ;)

  4. 4

    Clumbsy Cookie — August 13, 2008 @ 3:18 PM

    What a great way to overcome your phobia! That salad is gorgeous! Can’t wait to see your next fig recipes, the fig trees at my oncles house are becoming full!

  5. 5

    Obsessive Foodie or Food Addict....You Decide — August 13, 2008 @ 3:54 PM

    Figs and blue cheese…….YUM

  6. 6

    noble pig — August 13, 2008 @ 3:57 PM

    Figs used to freak me out as a kid, I felt they were like maggots inside. Now I love them especially with blue cheese in phyllo dough and a red wine reduction.

  7. 7

    Deborah — August 13, 2008 @ 4:16 PM

    I’ve never even had a fresh fig before. They aren’t something we had growing up. But I did see some at Costco, so I should pick them up and try them! And I didn’t know about that cookbook – I love his Tyler’s Ultimate show, so I bet I’d love this cookbook!

  8. 8

    ali — August 13, 2008 @ 4:26 PM

    Beautiful! This looks light and summery. I have been enjoying the figs I have been finding at my San Clemente farmers’ market, too. I love how you just scatter the salad all over the chicken breasts.

  9. 9

    Emiline — August 13, 2008 @ 5:17 PM

    This salad sounds amazing! Especially with the pancetta.

    I wish we had fresh figs here! I’m so jealous.

  10. 10

    Sharon — August 13, 2008 @ 5:48 PM

    I can’t say that I actually have a phobia of figs, but now that I think about it, I’ve never eaten fresh figs! Your salad looks delicious and inspires me to get over my own reluctance!

  11. 11

    Adam — August 13, 2008 @ 6:25 PM

    Ha you like pounding chicken into obvilion too? Nice.

    I love figs, and am glad you over came your fear. They are so tasty and unique looking.

    My grandma made a fig filling cookie too. Aren’t all grandma’s the same?

  12. 12

    Katrina — August 13, 2008 @ 7:27 PM

    The only figs I have ever eaten are in a Newton! This salad looks SO good, makes me want to get some figs and give them a try.
    Glad you liked your farmer’s market purchase.

  13. 13

    Jenny — August 13, 2008 @ 8:43 PM

    It’s beautiful! I just recently started cooking with figs myself. Aren’t they so pretty?! Great recipe from Tyler!

  14. 14

    newlyweds — August 13, 2008 @ 10:04 PM

    This salad looks delicious. I love figs and my favorite is fig jelly. I actually have a small fig tree but it is yet to produce.

    Jenna
    http://newlyweds.wordpress.com/

  15. 15

    Prudy — August 14, 2008 @ 1:00 AM

    I think this chicken dish could make a fig lover out of anyone. Looks great!

  16. 16

    cakewardrobe — August 14, 2008 @ 2:03 AM

    Fresh and super lovely!

  17. 17

    Leah — August 14, 2008 @ 4:20 AM

    Oh my gosh, figs and blue cheese?!! You had me at hello….I just love that combination. Great job, Recipe Girl!! Sounds like an amazing meal.

  18. 18

    canarygirl — August 14, 2008 @ 6:19 AM

    Wow, this looks fantastic! Like you, I’m not the biggest fan of figs, but I’ll try anything twice (or 3 or 4 times if convinced lol).

  19. 19

    Manggy — August 14, 2008 @ 6:33 AM

    Hee! You know, in this household, it’s *me* who gets hurt when my grandmother doesn’t eat what I made! Ha ha ha!
    I haven’t ever tasted a fig before. We don’t get fresh ones here. I’ve tried fig newtons as a kid but didn’t like them either. The dish looks really beautiful, I can’t wait to see a real fresh fig so I can try it!

  20. 20

    [eatingclub] vancouver || js — August 14, 2008 @ 6:35 AM

    I wish I can get fresh figs!

    Don’t you love food epiphanies?

  21. 21

    Grace — August 14, 2008 @ 8:01 AM

    well i’m glad to hear that mr florence is good for something other than talking really fast and striving to be a 30-something frat boy…
    this looks great, and although my experience with figs is limited to fig newtons, i think it would be delicious. :)

  22. 22

    VeggieGirl — August 14, 2008 @ 12:08 PM

    Oh goodness, I ADORE figs – thank goodness for Tyler Florence helping you to try a fig-containing recipe!! And thank goodness for Tyler Florence being so good-looking ;0)

  23. 23

    Mark Boxshus "Cookie Doctor" — August 14, 2008 @ 1:08 PM

    Lori…….This is a dish fit for a “Goddess” ……sorry I had to go there…..LOL. Forgive me…. Seriously, it does look great, and like yourself, I’ve never been keen on figs or prunes. Can you whip up a “prune friendly” recipe that might change my mind? This looks so deliciously complete, simple and healthy. You could say…….”understated elegance” personified.

    “Doc”

  24. 24

    My Sweet & Saucy — August 14, 2008 @ 6:28 PM

    I have definitely thought about making this dish before as I looked through his book! Yours turned out perfect! Looks so good!

  25. 25

    Becky — August 14, 2008 @ 8:31 PM

    oh wow…that looks SO good. i love figs, but the local supermarket rarely ever gets them, even when they’re in season. i’ll remember this for next time.

  26. 26

    Lisa — August 14, 2008 @ 8:43 PM

    This looks sooo delicious! It is funny how taste can change over the years. I would not touch avocados until I was 20 years old and now I just love them.

  27. 27

    CookiePie — August 14, 2008 @ 10:20 PM

    Beautiful dish! I’m soooo glad you got yourself past your fig phobia — they’re so, so delicious. Good for you!

  28. 28

    Obsessive Foodie or Food Addict....You Decide — August 15, 2008 @ 3:08 AM

    I saw Figs at Fresh Market today and thought about you…..

  29. 29

    Heather — August 15, 2008 @ 3:36 AM

    FIG PHOBIA?!?!?! I didn’t know there was such a thing! I am glad you over came it! These figs look beautiful!

  30. 30

    Jan — August 15, 2008 @ 5:20 AM

    When I was a kid my mum always bought fig biscuits (cookies) and I loved them. This recipe sounds delicious, I’m sure I would love it too.

  31. 31

    Tina — August 15, 2008 @ 3:42 PM

    Yum! Looks so good! I love figs!

  32. 32

    Rosie — August 15, 2008 @ 5:31 PM

    Oh wow figs and blue cheese a match made in heaven ….mmmmmm

    Rosie x

  33. 33

    Aggie — August 15, 2008 @ 7:21 PM

    Tyler Florence is a cutie isn’t he?

    I grew up around figs, my grandfather has several fig trees in his yard so they have always been plentiful. But what’s funny is, I’ve only eaten them as fruit, I’ve never actually cooked anything with them. This salad looks delicious and I bet the blue cheese tastes wonderful with the figs!

  34. 34

    Mike of Mike's Table — August 15, 2008 @ 7:35 PM

    Glad you’re on the fig wagon now! I was in love as soon as I discovered them for the first time, and this salad looks like a great way to enjoy them!

  35. 35

    Cheryl — August 15, 2008 @ 9:09 PM

    Gorgeous! My grandmother got it in her head that my favorite dessert was lemon meringue pie, which I despised with the heat of 1,000 suns. Every year, birthday after birthday, she’d make me that damn pie, and I never had the heart to tell her the truth.

    I’d have taken fig cookies any day of the week, and then some.

  36. 36

    Christie @ fig & cherry — August 16, 2008 @ 12:19 AM

    So glad you overcame your fig phobia!

    Here’s a super easy recipe to try, I guarantee you’ll love it:

    Slice a cross into the top of the figs then push in a spoonful of mascarpone or ricotta. Top with a small square of dark chocolate and grill (broil) for 1 minute until the chocolate melts slightly. Voila! Dessert! Yum!

  37. 37

    Jessy and her dog Winnie — August 16, 2008 @ 1:16 AM

    That salad looks awesome!

  38. 38

    Proud Italian Cook — August 16, 2008 @ 1:39 AM

    Wow does that look outstanding! Great flavors going on here. I’m glad you came out of “The Darkside!” Maybe you’ll give the cookies another try!

  39. 39

    Bellini Valli — August 24, 2008 @ 3:01 PM

    I finally tried fresh figs the other day. From my post I discovered there are over 700 varieties of figs and some are good and some are tasteless. They really look excellent in this salad. I’ll have to take the juciest fogs I can find and give it a go:D

  40. 40

    Janna — August 26, 2008 @ 9:39 PM

    Looks just like the picture and sounds GREAT!